A Cognitive Semantics Approach to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution

20 A Cognitive Semantics Approach to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution evoked by the text (contextual meaning). Take into account what comes before and after the lexical unit. (b) F or each lexical unit, determine if it has a more basic contemporary meaning in other contexts than the one in the given context. For our purposes, basic meanings tend to be: M ore concrete; what they evoke is easier to imagine, see, hear, feel, smell, and taste. Related to bodily action. More precise (as opposed to vague) Historically older. B asic meanings are not necessarily the most frequent meanings of the lexical unit. (c) I f the lexical unit has a more basic current–contemporary meaning in other contexts than the given context, decide whether the contextual meaning contrasts with the basic meaning but can be understood in comparison with it. 4. If yes, mark the lexical unit as metaphorical. (Pragglejaz Group 2007: 3) The authors of the MIP highlight its reliability, as tested by several researchers, and this merit cannot be denied, but they also admit, that “applying the procedure to realistic discourse and obtaining reliable identification results is not a task that can be accomplished easily or quickly” but is “hard work and must be done slowly” (2007: 36). Consequently, even though any attempt to introduce discipline and objectivity into metaphor identification is commendable, a full-scale application of this analysis protocol to the study of metaphors in the theory of evolution is both unrealistic and impractical. Unrealistic, because it would take many years to analyze The Origin alone, not mentioning other sources. Unpractical, because, ultimately, while extremely time consuming, this procedure would not take us much beyond confirming initial intuitions (the MIP authors themselves call their method “an intuition sharpener”). The MIP method still relies on decisions made by the researcher. Additionally, these classifications must be sharp yes–no decisions made at the level of individual words, which again, for long stretches of discourse, where metaphorical sense can result from distant context, is of little use. The MIP was later developed into MIPVU by metaphor researchers from Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam (Steen et al. 2010, Steen, Pasma et al. 2010). The MIPVU made the procedure even more detailed, allowing it to include conceptual metaphors realized as simile, analogy, and counterfactual expressions. However, for the same reasons as the MIP, it proved of little use for the demands of this study.