Abstraction as a basis for the computational interpretation of creative cross-modal metaphor

  • Sylvia Weber Russell


Various approaches to computational metaphor interpretation are based on pre-existing similarities between source and target domains and/or are based on metaphors already observed to be prevalent in the language. This paper addresses similarity-creating cross-modal metaphoric expressions. It is shown how the “abstract concept as object” (or reification) metaphor plays a central role in a large class of metaphoric extensions. The described approach depends on the imposition of abstract ontological components, which represent source concepts, onto target concepts. The challenge of such a system is to represent both denotative and connotative components which are extensible, together with a framework of general domains between which such extensions can conceivably occur. An existing ontology of this kind, consistent with some mathematic concepts and widely held linguistic notions, is outlined. It is suggested that the use of such an abstract representation system is well adapted to the interpretation of both conventional and unconventional metaphor that is similarity-creating.


Metaphor Semantics Representation Ontologies Lexicon 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of New HampshireDurhamUSA

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