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Metaphor and Iconicity in two Mexican writers: Inés Arredondo and Amparo Dávila

Xitlally Rivero Romero & Claudia Reyes Trigos (Tecnológico de Monterrey)

Friday, May 18th
Buchanan B213

This paper aims to analyze the relationship between metaphor and iconicity in the narratives of two Mexican writers: the short stories “Los inocentes”, by Inés Arredondo, and “Griselda”, by Amparo Dávila. The proposal builds on the idea that certain literary expressions have an iconic relationship with their meaning and, therefore, it is possible to make a metaphorical reading of the literary text as a single poetic form or as a single linguistic expression. This idea is supported, first, on Damaso Alonso’s proposals (1950) about Spanish poetry, and the Langacker cognitive grammar’s concept of linguistic expression (2008). Second, in the work of Masako Hiraga (2005) about the relationship between metaphor and iconicity.

Damaso Alonso says that in poetry, there is always a motivated link between signifier and signified (32), and nothing happens in poetry that also exists in the everyday speech (602, 603). He conceives signified and signifier as complex constructs within which we can distinguish, in the first, a series of partial meanings that encompass not only conceptual values but also affective values, and in the second, a series of partial significants. The “form”, then, is a complex built around motivated relationships between conceptual-affective complex and the phonetic complex. This form is not limited to one word, but can extend to the sentence or a text with a complete sense.

Similarly, Langacker says that every linguistic expression, no matter how complex it is, consists of three parts: a phonological structure, a semantic structure and a symbolic bidirectional relation that links and integrates these two structures in a single unit. The symbolic nature of the relations between the two structures does not exclude the possibility that the linguistic expression can show certain characteristics of the icons or even indexes. This is because linguistic expressions are not conclusively arbitrary, but depend on cognitive operations carried out by our mind to process, store, and use the amount of information we are exposed to each time.

Hiraga, meanwhile, proposed that in some literary texts takes place a formalconceptual integration when grammatical metaphors give meaning to form. This macro integration occurs from diagrammatic mapping of meaning towards the form, either through visual structures, sound structures or syntax structures.

Given the nature of the corpus, originally written in Spanish, we will focus on sound and syntactic structures that keeps a metaphorical relation with their meaning. The result of the macro-operation of conceptual and formal integration, according to Damaso Alonso and in line with Langacker, will be the poetic form, the literary text as a whole.

(See the attached PDF for references)

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