Cognitive Semiotics Seminar: "Translation validity in metaphor theories: CMT, DMT and the Motivation & Sedimentation Model" (Jordan Zlatev)
I presented a version of this paper as a plenary talk at the latest Figurative Thought and Language (FTL) conference, and it is soon to be published in a volume, with Kalina Moskaluk as co-author. But we have never really discussed it in our seminar, including the way we suggest to understand "translation validity". So welcome to H402 or to the zoom link (with camera on) for a presentation and discussion!
Evaluating competing metaphor theories against each other implies the need for theory-independent criteria of comparison. We propose translation validity, the closeness in which theoretical constructs and operationalizations match one another, be such a criterion. Applying this to Conceptual Metaphor Theory (CMT) and Deliberate Metaphor Theory (DMT) we note that the translation validity of CMT is low, given that its main constructs (“domain”, “cross-domain mappings”) lack clear operationalizations. DMT fares better with a procedure for distinguishing between deliberate and non-deliberate metaphor, but we argue that it needs improvements in clarifying and justifying its operationalization. After summarizing the Motivation & Sedimentation Model (MSM) of metaphor, we discuss its translation validity in relation to two different studies, one on metaphors for anxiety and stress in psychotherapy discourse, and the other on pictorial and verbo-pictorial metaphors. We argue that while the operationalizations in these studies differ, they both show considerable correspondence to the constructs, and thus a high degree of translation validity. Some weaknesses nevertheless show up under scrutiny, suggesting ways to improve both the level of translation validity and the higher of level construct validity (mapping from phenomena to constructs) of the model. In this process we anticipate a degree of convergence between the DMT and MSM approaches.