Theme sessions

Theme Session 1

Conceptual Levels of Metaphor

Kövecses, in his 2020 book, mentions eleven unsolved issues regarding Conceptual Metaphor Theory, among which we deal with the one relating to conceptual levels of metaphor. He inquires, “what is the appropriate conceptual level at which we can, or should, identify conceptual metaphors? Is it that of domain, frame, scene, schema, space, or something else?” In this theme session, we aim to provide some case studies to show that different scopes of the conceptual levels are meaningful and the granularity of language matters. Schemas relate to individual verbs, which may be components of a frame. Nouns often evoke a background knowledge of a cultural frame, which can also be utilized via metonymic link. This compatibility of different conceptual levels of metaphor may indicate the nature of language, i.e., the dynamics of our conceptualization. There are four papers in this session. Three of them discuss metaphorical extensions based on the level of schema in Chinese. The last one discusses metaphorical usages of Arabic body parts, which have a cultural frame flavor. 


Kövecses, Zoltán. (2020). Extended conceptual metaphor theory. Cambridge; New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.


• Chia-Rung Lu (National Taiwan University, Taiwan) – Web surfing and Buddha-like: two conceptual levels of metaphorical extension in Chinese
• Shu-Ping Gong and Ya-Chu Chung (National Chiayi University, Taiwan) – Linguistic Constraints in Fictive Motion Sentences in Mandarin Chinese: The Travellability of Figures and Shape Manner in Motions
• Suet-Ching Soon (National Chengchi University, Taiwan) – PATH Metaphors in Chinese Adverb daodi
• Fu Yi-hsuan (National Chengchi University, Taiwan) – The Conventional Metaphors of Body Parts in Arabic: Sinn ‘tooth’ and Yad ‘hand’




Theme session 2

Metaphorical structuring in critical global issues 

This panel explores metaphorical structuring of discourses about critical global issues within health, climate action, and gender equality, defined as UN sustainability goals. We focus on metaphorical conceptualizations of selected aspects of these issues, using a range of established theoretical and analytical approaches to framing and metaphor. We reflect on the effects these conceptualizations might have on beliefs about causality, how they might lead to self-defeating behaviors and strategies, what they selectively hide and reveal, and whether it is in the interest of problem solvers to flexibly alternate between complementary framings of the crisis or problem.

• Drawing on conceptual blending theory (Fauconnier& Turner 2002), the first talk presents a case study of metaphorical conceptual integration in interdisciplinary communication about the COVID-19 pandemic. We show that the (viral) pandemic response is conceptualized as a (viral) cybersecurity response, which serves as a call to action among experts.
• The second talk examines how metaphorical conceptions of fossil fuels diverge in oil industry advertising (demand-side mappings) vs. calls to action produced by climate change activists (supply-side mappings). The mappings range from the Fossil Fuel Savior frame (Supran&Orreskes 2021) to portrayals of fossil fuels as poisons, drugs, and even trapped monsters–in appeals from
• The third talk investigates how we metaphorically and not-so-metaphorically talk about carbon emissions in climate discourse. We analyze nominal compounds with “carbon” (e.g. carbon footprint), the levels of concreteness and metaphoricity they carry, and how they hide or designate agency (Lakoff 2010).
• The fourth talk explores conflict between divergent spatial metaphors that (re)construct competing ideologies of how racism operates (Hill 2008). We focus on conflict between metaphors that construe racism as a removable object and those that emphasize the embeddedness of racism in societal structures.
• Through the lens of feminist critical discourse analysis (Tolmach-Lakoff 1973), the fifth talk explores the range of metaphors used to describe female academics. We identify a semantic cluster of metaphors drawing from fairy tales, folklore and myth, and discuss how these metaphors contribute to the shaping of women’s position in academia.

We invite discussion of the potential effects of these conceptualizations, the compatibility or incompatibility of differing conceptual framings of the crisis under study, and why some of these effects might or might not be desirable in the quest for a safer, more just, and more sustainable (co)existence. Finally, we reflect on what we might gain, as researchers and global citizens, by working together in a transdisciplinary fashion, as manifested in the composition of this panel.



Fauconnier, G.; Turner, M. The Way We Think: Conceptual Blending and the Mind’s Hidden Complexities. 2002. New York: Basic.

Hill, J. H. (2008). The Everyday Language of White Racism. John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated.

Lakoff, G. (2010). Why it Matters How We Frame the Environment. Environmental        Communication, Vol. 4 (1), 70-81.

Supran, G., & Oreskes, N. (2021). Rhetoric and frame analysis of ExxonMobil’s climate change communications. One Earth, 4(5), 696-719.

Tolmach-Lakoff, R. (1973). Language and Woman’s Place. Language in Society, 2(1), 45-80.


• Cameron Mozafari (University of Maryland, USA) – Carbon Compounds and The Need for Climate Neologisms
• Hana Gustafsson (Norwegian University of Science and Technology) and Rosana Ferrareto (Science and Technology of São Paulo, Brazil)- Conceptualizing COVID-19 response as a cybersecurity response: metaphorical conceptual integration across disciplines
• Laura Michaelis (University of Colorado Boulder, USA) – Hitting the Pipe: Drug Addiction and other Metaphors of Fossil Fuel Supply and Demand
• Sofia Moratti (Norwegian University of Science and Technology) – Contemporary Fairy Tales: Narrating Women Academics Through Metaphors
• Rebecca Lee (University of Colorado Boulder, USA) – Conflicting Spatial Metaphors in Racism Discourse


Metaphor as a Byproduct of Voice Markers: A Cross- cultural Perspective from the Austronesian Languages 


Metaphors can be identified through both lexical choice and grammatical units. For the former, a metaphor can be detected if the meaning of a word is different from its original more concrete meaning (cf. Steen et al., 2010: 5-6). This kind of metaphors received much attention in the literature. For the latter, metaphorical mechanism that occurs in smaller units than word does not receive as much attention in the metaphor literature, although it has been widely recognized as part of word formation processes (Onysko& Michel, 2009; Geeraerts &Cuyckens 2007). Metaphor was often discussed in passing when morphosyntax or voice marking is concerned, especially in languages where morphosyntactic elements carry both grammatical and semantic functions. In this theme session, we would like to bring attention to some grammatical units in languages where metaphors are less researched in. In these languages, metaphors occur in their affixes, in the case marking, and in the process of morphological formation.



Alexander Onysko& Sascha Michel (eds.). 2009. Cognitive Perspectives on Word Formation. Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Dirk Geeraerts & Hubert Cuyckens (eds.). 2007. The Oxford handbook of Cognitive Linguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Steen, Gerald J., Alletta G. Dorst,, J. Berenike Herrmann, Anna A. Kaal, Tina Krennmayr, &TrijntjePasma. 2010. A Method for Linguistic Metaphor Identification: From MIP to MIPVU. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.


• Siaw-Fong Chung (National Chengchi University, Taiwan) – Metaphorical Mechanisms of the Suffix –an in Malaysian Standard Malay
• Rik de Busser (National Chengchi University, Taiwan) – The abstraction of space in Central Bunun locative nominalizations
• Fu-Hui Hsieh (Tatung University, Taiwan) – Time-Space-Event metaphors in Formosan Languages: Another Look on Intercultural Communication

© 2022, 15th Researching and Applying Metaphor Conference

Wydział Filologiczny UwB
Plac Niezależnego Zrzeszenia Studentów 1
15-420 Bialystok

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