Volume 31, Issue 2, 2003
Metaphorical “networks” and verbal communication
A semiotic perspective of human discourse
This paper presents the notion that verbal discourse is structured, in form and contents, by metaphorical reasoning. It discusses the concept of “metaphorical network” as a framework for relating the parts of a speech act to each other, since such an act seems to cohere into a meaningful text on the basis of “domains” that deliver common concepts. The basic finding of several research projects on this concept suggest that source domains allow speakers to derive sense from a verbal interaction because they interconnect the topic of discussion to culturally-meaningful images and ideas. This suggests, in turn, that language is intertwined with nonverbal systems of meaning, reflecting them in the contents of verbal messages. Overall, the concept of metaphorical networks implies that human cognition is highly associative in structure.