On Metaphoric Inversion
Abbreviated Journal Title
Metaphor Symb. Act.
Similarity; Asymmetry; Language & Linguistics; Psychology, Experimental
This article examines examples of metaphoric inversion, pairs of conceptual metaphors that employ the same metaphoric mapping but exhibit reversed topic-vehicle orientation. This phenomenon includes such pairs as ''PEOPLE ARE COMPUTERS'' versus ''COMPUTERS ARE PEOPLE''. It is an unusual phenomenon because the usual effect of reversing a metaphor is anomaly or a complete shift in the metaphor's conceptual ground. Analysis suggests an underlying asymmetry despite the common ground. One of the metaphors in the pair functions as an ordinary personification or anthropomorphism, not taken seriously or extended beyond its areas of obvious applicability to the topic. The other metaphor seems, by contrast, often to carry moral or philosophical overtones and to be actively extended in a way that undermines the entrenched attributes of its topic.
Metaphor and Symbolic Activity
"On Metaphoric Inversion" (1993). Faculty Bibliography 1990s. 679.