Metaphor use in aphasia

Author: Jie Fu
LOT Number: 656
ISBN: 978-94-6093-442-1
Pages: 141
Year: 2023
1st promotor: Judith E. Rispens
2nd promotor: Suzanne P. Aalberse
3rd promotor: Marianna Bolognesi
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In the conceptual metaphor theory (CMT), one tenant is that metaphors are ubiquitous in our everyday language. This dissertation tried to make a thorough investigation into how linguistic metaphors are used by people with aphasia (PWA). Aphasia is an acquired language disorder that affects people’s language production and understanding; it can be divided into two types: non-fluent and fluent, according to the fluency of sufferers’ speech. Some former studies have revealed deficiencies of certain word classes produced by these two groups of PWA. Apart from linguistic metaphors, the metaphor use in aphasia can be also discussed under the scope of CMT: in people’s speech about aphasia, aphasia treatment, and rehabilitation, we can find conceptual metaphors and analyse them in to see how aphasia is conceptualized in discourse. The overall research goal of this dissertation is to examine how metaphors are used in aphasia from two perspectives: linguistic and conceptual.

Results have shown features of PWA’s production of linguistic metaphors in some word classes; in some word classes, metaphor distribution is not balanced in different types of aphasia. By analysing the interaction between metaphor, word class, and participant group in English and Mandarin data, we can have a deeper understanding of metaphor use by PWA. As for the analysis of metaphorical framings about aphasia and aphasia recovery, it can be helpful for practitioners and family caregivers to communicate with PWA in the rehabilitation process. Moreover, metaphorical framings on aphasia can shape how we think about aphasia and PWA.

In the conceptual metaphor theory (CMT), one tenant is that metaphors are ubiquitous in our everyday language. This dissertation tried to make a thorough investigation into how linguistic metaphors are used by people with aphasia (PWA). Aphasia is an acquired language disorder that affects people’s language production and understanding; it can be divided into two types: non-fluent and fluent, according to the fluency of sufferers’ speech. Some former studies have revealed deficiencies of certain word classes produced by these two groups of PWA. Apart from linguistic metaphors, the metaphor use in aphasia can be also discussed under the scope of CMT: in people’s speech about aphasia, aphasia treatment, and rehabilitation, we can find conceptual metaphors and analyse them in to see how aphasia is conceptualized in discourse. The overall research goal of this dissertation is to examine how metaphors are used in aphasia from two perspectives: linguistic and conceptual.

Results have shown features of PWA’s production of linguistic metaphors in some word classes; in some word classes, metaphor distribution is not balanced in different types of aphasia. By analysing the interaction between metaphor, word class, and participant group in English and Mandarin data, we can have a deeper understanding of metaphor use by PWA. As for the analysis of metaphorical framings about aphasia and aphasia recovery, it can be helpful for practitioners and family caregivers to communicate with PWA in the rehabilitation process. Moreover, metaphorical framings on aphasia can shape how we think about aphasia and PWA.

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