What Lies Beneath: The Revelatory Power of Metonymy in Discourse, Language Planning, and Higher Education
AuthorKohler, Alan Thomas
KeywordsCritical Discourse Analysis
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractMetonymic and metaphoric language are thoroughly present in everyday language, so much so that they hold in themselves strong explanatory capacity to uncover and even influence underlying individual or social/cultural ideological systems and beliefs about the world around us (Catalano & Waugh, 2013; 2014; Lakoff & Johnson, 1980). The mapping systems involved in both metonymy and metaphor provide access to conceptual and social heuristics that help us make inferential and referential shortcuts (Littlemore, 2015), and thus these figurative constructs are directly implicated as “natural inference schemas” that we engage in the construction of meaning through written discourse (Panther & Thornburg, 2003). Further, these heuristics are environmental, social, and cognitively appointed forces that shape how we understand things and how we work out abstract concepts and how we reason and shape the world around us. Because of this, metonymy and metaphor are crucial foci for any inquiry into how our individual or systemic perceptions, attitudes, beliefs, and thought processes (Catalano & Waugh, 2014, p. 407) are revealed through the written discourses in our world. But, while conceptual metaphor has enjoyed a great deal of attention over the last several decades, research into what metonymy can reveal as a potent participant in social and cognitive meaning-making has been comparatively scarce—a notion that is especially disconcerting given strong recent evidence to suggest that metonymy conceptually “leads the way” to metaphor (Mittelberg & Waugh, 2009). Inspired by this, this dissertation project seeks reparation for metonymy’s relative neglect as an effective tool for critical discourse analysts. Through an exploration of metonymy’s critical relationship to online discourse, internationalization in higher education, and language policy and planning, the three studies that comprise this project seek to engage the “explanatory and practical aims” of critical discourse analysis and to support the tireless work of such analysis that attempts “to uncover, reveal or disclose what is implicit, hidden or otherwise not immediately obvious in relationships of discursively enacted dominance [and] their underlying ideologies” (van Dijk, 1995).
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Second Language Acquisition & Teaching