A Cognitive Semantics Approach to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution

19 1. Theoretical Background: Cognitive Semantics and advanced as evidence in favour of one conceptual metaphor” (Gibbs 2009: 19). This is precisely the challenge this study encountered. However, the problem in fact pertains to the technical possibilities for research presentation and not CMT methodology. Another charge, partially related to the one discussed above, is the reliance of cognitive linguists on intuition for their analyses instead of a formalized set of criteria. Gibbs sums up the charges as follows: Typically, cognitive linguistic analyses of conceptual metaphor do not provide explicit criteria for (a) identifying what constitutes a metaphor in language at either the word or phrase level, (b) defining systematicity among a set of language expressions referring to a specific abstract target such as love, (c) inferring the existence of one – and not another – conceptual metaphor when finding systematicity among metaphorical expressions in language, or (d) determining how representative the analyses of isolated, self-constructed examples – or examples taken from corpora – are of real discourse. Without such criteria, critics see no reason to posit the existence of conceptual metaphor either as a generalization about the language system or the nature of the cognitive unconscious. (2009: 20) Cognitive linguists themselves have never felt comfortable with intuition and retrospection at the core of their methodology, especially since researchers often differ in their judgements on whether a word is used metaphorically, what specifically is metaphorized, and consequently, how to label the conceptual metaphor. Thus, several attempts have been made to improve and formalize procedures for metaphor identification. The Metaphor Identification Procedure (MIP), proposed by the Pragglejaz Group with the intention “to create an explicit, reliable, and flexible method for identifying metaphorically used words in spoken and written language” (2007: 2), deserves special attention for both the solutions it offers and problems it generates. Although the authors advertise that “the procedure has been streamlined to make metaphor identification as simple as possible” (2007: 36), in the actual practice it is far from straightforward. It involves several steps that are quoted below for the sake of clarity: The MIP is as follows: 1. R ead the entire text–discourse to establish a general understanding of the meaning. 2. Determine the lexical units in the text–discourse. 3. (a) F or each lexical unit in the text, establish its meaning in context, that is, how it applies to an entity, relation, or attribute in the situation