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:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Ellevate Network, the leading network for professional ... action towards gender equality at their inaugural Summit in New York City in June. ... a social audience of over 3 million. To watch the Mobilize Women video, ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... ... “The Journey: From the Mountains to the Mission Field”: the story of a ... “The Journey: From the Mountains to the Mission Field” is the creation of published ... all ages and currently teaches a class of ladies at her church, which she ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... meet the demand of today’s consumer and regulatory authorities worldwide. From Children’s to ... and tested to meet the highest standard. , These products are also: ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... Dr. Parsa Mohebi, the ... medical article to the newly revamped Cosmetic Town journal section, featuring ... transplant procedure known as Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE). , Dr. Mohebi ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Health Literacy Innovations (HLI), creator of the ... the Cancer Patient Education Network (CPEN), an independent professional organization that shares best ... alliance. , As CPEN’s strategic partner, HLI will help support CPEN members ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:9/27/2017)... NEW YORK , Sept. 27, 2017  DarioHealth Corp. ... big data solutions, today announced that its MyDario product is expected to ... TV listings for when The Dr. Oz Show airs in your area: ... The nine-time Emmy award-winning, ... ...
(Date:9/23/2017)... , Sept. 22, 2017 Janssen Biotech, Inc. ... response letter from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ... of sirukumab for the treatment of moderately to severely ... additional clinical data are needed to further evaluate the ... severely active RA. ...
(Date:9/19/2017)... Inc., a venture-backed medical device company developing a non-invasive, robotically assisted, platform therapy that uses ... today:   ... Jim ... Tom Tefft ... Veteran medical device executive Josh Stopek , PhD, who has led R&D and business ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: