Navigation Links
Sign languages help us understand the nature of metaphors
Date:12/10/2010

(Washington, DC) A recent study of the use of metaphors in spoken language and various sign languages shows that certain types of metaphors are difficult to convey in sign language. The study, "Iconicity and metaphor: Constraints on metaphorical extension of iconic forms," to be published in the December 2010 issue of the scholarly journal Language, is authored by Irit Meir of the University of Haifa. A preprint version is available on line at: http://lsadc.org/info/documents/2010/press-releases/meir.pdf.

Dr. Meir's research sheds new light on the interrelations between two notions that play an important role in language and communication, iconicity and metaphor. This study shows that the iconicity of a form may constrain the possible metaphorical extensions that the form might take. Put another way, certain metaphorical expressions in spoken language cannot be "translated directly" into sign language if their form is iconic.

Sign languages are natural languages, with rich and complex grammatical structures and lexicons. Sign languages have rich use of metaphors. But quite often, when trying to translate metaphors from a spoken language to a sign language, we find that it is impossible to use the same words. For example, it is impossible to use the sign FLY (in Israeli Sign Language and American Sign Language) in the expression "time flies" or "the day just flew by". The metaphorical uses of a word such as FLY are impossible because of the form of this sign, in particular, its iconicity. The sign for FLY is produced by moving the arms as if flapping one's wings. But in the expression "time flies", we do not mean that time is flapping its wings. Rather, the metaphor is built on an implication of the action of flying, namely that it is a very fast way of motion. So there is a clash between what the form of the sign encodes (wing flapping) and the aspect of meaning on which the metaphor is built (fast movement).

When such a clash occurs, the metaphorical use is not possible. The meaning components reflected by the form of the (iconic) verb and the meaning component which serves as the basis for its metaphorical use should be congruent. If they are not, then the sign cannot be used for the specific metaphorical use in question. Iconic signs, then, are more restricted in the metaphorical extensions they can undergo than non-iconic signs, because their form is not arbitrary. The effects of iconicity on metaphors are much more salient in signed languages, because of their better ability to express many concepts in an iconic way. Sign languages, then, are instrumental in getting better understanding of metaphors and the forces that shape them.


'/>"/>

Contact: Alyson Reed
areed@lsadc.org
202-835-1714
Linguistic Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Gold Standard/Elsevier promotes medication safety and compliance via New MEDcounselor languages
2. DiabetesCare.net Goes Spanish…and French…and 50 Other Languages
3. New therapies and gene target advance the treatment and understanding of hard-to-treat leukemias
4. Psychopaths May Lack Understanding of Social Contracts: Study
5. U of M researchers identify possible key to treating, understanding post-traumatic stress disorder
6. Breakthrough in understanding life-threatening childhood liver disease
7. Interactive media improved patients’ understanding of cancer surgery by more than a third
8. Microbiomes may hold key to better understanding of preterm birth
9. What can health-care facilities do to help patients better understand medical information
10. Do children understand irony?
11. Better understanding of mapmaking in the brain
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/30/2016)... , ... April 30, 2016 , ... Orlando-based Maximized Living ... they go for gold in Rio. Under the care of Maximized Living doctors ... , In an unprecedented showing, Maximized Living is sending the largest contingent of elite ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 30, 2016 , ... Mercy College is expanding its Graduate Business ... will be expanding due to high demand: Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of ... summer. , School of Business Graduate Program Chair Dr. Ray Manganelli said: ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... MA (PRWEB) , ... April 29, 2016 , ... ... the Two Ten Footwear Foundation, the national charitable foundation serving the footwear industry, ... With 8,000 volunteers representing more than 130 companies across 23 states during the ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... Shamangelic ... the addition Onnit brand Alpha BRAIN and New Mood Daily-Stress Formula for brain ... mood optimization products to the store is just one more way Shamangelic Healing ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... On Tuesday, April 26, ... the Southeast, celebrated the signature of Gov. Nathan Deal on SB 258, the “Rural ... (R - Cumming), offers a 70% tax credit to individuals and corporations which donate ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:4/27/2016)... SHAWNEE, Kan. , April 27, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... Martabano , a senior from the University of ... winner of the Bayer Excellence in Communication Award ... veterinary schools, which were awarded a total of ... Over the last four years, Bayer has provided ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... 27, 2016 Global  urinalysis ... billion by 2022, according to a new report ... (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20150105/723757 ) , ... efficiency and accuracy delivered by the new generation ... novel urinalysis instruments and consumables. For instance, the ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... Hill-Rom Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: HRC ) invites you ... 41 st Annual Health Care Conference on Wednesday, May ... invited to listen to the live discussion via the internet ... http://edge.media-server.com/m/p/mr4uxgas . A recorded replay of the discussion will ... and accessible at the links above until August 1, 2016. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: