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SYNAMET – Microcorpus of Synaesthetic Metaphors

Towards a Formal Description and Efficient Methods of Analysis of Metaphors in Discourse

Project no 2014/15/B/HS2/00182 financed by the National Science Centre

The project Synamet had three main objectives. First, examining how the texts describe different sensory impressions (smell, taste, auditory) using figurative language. Secondly, creating a corpus of synesthetic metaphors, i.e. a collection of annotated texts at both the grammatical and semantic levels. Thirdly, checking whether the model of synesthesia proposed by S. Ullmann, considered to be universal, will also be confirmed for Polish. The theoretical basis for the description of metaphors in the project was the Conceptual Metaphor Theory by G. Lakoff and M. Johnson combined with the frame semantics by Ch. Fillmore. Lakoff and Johnson define a metaphor as a conceptual mapping from the source domain onto the target domain, e.g. LOVE IS JOURNEY. Since the concept of domain is quite vague, it has been replaced in the project by the concept of Fillmorean frame. Interpretative frames are conceptual structures that are activated by lexical units, e.g. expressions Tuesday, week, weekendactivate the TIME frame.

The synesthetic metaphor in the narrower sense means that a given sensual perception is described by lexical units primarily referring to another perception, e.g. bright sound (VISION -> HEARING), and in a broader one—that non-perceptive phenomena are described by means of expressions related to sensual impressions, e.g. rough character (TOUCH -> PERSON). In the Synamet project,  an even broader definition of the synesthetic metaphor was used—each expression in which two different frames were activated and one of them was perceptual, was treated as a synesthetic metaphor, e.g. the body of wine(WINE -> TASTE), fragrance base (ARCHITEKTURE -> SMELL).

The results of texts analysis, statistics of the corpus, models of synesthesia, and a proposal of a new metaphor typology are presented in the monograph:

Magdalena Zawisławska, Metaphor and Senses: The Synamet Corpus: A Polish Resource for Synesthetic Metaphors, Peter Lang: Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warsaw, Wien, 2019 .