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Conference papers

A tropological perspective on category emergence

Abstract : In spite of an increasing interest in category emergence, we lack understanding of its cognitive and especially cognitive linguistic underpinnings. Previous research has pointed out that metaphors may serve an important purpose in category emergence, and we wish to complement this view by offering a tropologcial perspective that elaborates on the key role of the four master tropes – metaphor, metonymy, synechdoche and irony – in category emergence. In particular, we argue that metaphor serves to create new meaning through the formation of similarity clusters and schemas; metonymy integrates the emergent category, by means of contiguity, in wider networks of meaning and cognitive infrastructure; synecdoche offers exemplifying representations (prototypes) and labels of an emergent category; and irony provides reflective sensemaking devices for distancing and resistance, which either facilitates or impedes the consolidation of an emergent category. Thus, all four master tropes by themselves, and especially in combinations, serve as means of structuring the cognitive content, inserting the emergent category into a wider cognitive infrastructure, and mobilizing members and audiences.
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Conference papers
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Contributor : Eva Boxenbaum <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, January 14, 2015 - 10:36:14 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, October 14, 2020 - 3:52:37 AM


  • HAL Id : hal-01103148, version 1


Eero Vaara, Eva Boxenbaum. A tropological perspective on category emergence. Third European Theory Development Workshop in OMT and Strategy 2014, Jun 2014, Amsterdam, Netherlands. ⟨hal-01103148⟩



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