Traditionally , metaphor has been seen as a threat to the scientific maxims of accuracy , truth , and explicitness . This view is still reflected in academic writing conventions , but has been opposed by research suggesting that metaphor is an indispensable part of natural language . So far , most studies on metaphor in academic prose have been conducted on a small scale or restricted in their focus , investigating only small sets of metaphors , or have lacked a transparent method of metaphor identification . This book presents a new type of metaphor research into written academic discourse . On the basis of a systematic and consistent method which identified metaphorical language on a word - by - word basis , it constructs the first register profile of academic prose that takes into account metaphor . Patterns of metaphorical language use in academic prose are described in terms of lexico - grammatical forms , communicative functions , and underlying conceptual structures . A hand - annotated corpus of 190,000 words of natural language , allowed for consistent cross - register comparison with news , fiction , and conversation . The work not only approaches metaphor from a cognitive - linguistic , sociolinguistic , and discourse - analytical angle , but also from a psycholinguistic one , investigating the processing of metaphorical language in academic discourse as influenced by academic expertise and metaphor conventionality . This research is useful for anyone interested in the study of academic discourse , metaphor in specialized discourse , and register variation in general . In addition to furthering our knowledge of the characteristics of academic discourse , its focus on methodology will be helpful to those concerned with the methodological aspects of metaphor analysis .