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Philology: scientific researches

The specifics of the functioning of a structural metaphor in a public dialogue

Menzhulina Dar'ya

ORCID: 0000-0003-2147-2886

Assistant, Department of Russian as a Foreign Language, Far Eastern Federal University

690922, Russia, Primorsky Krai, Vladivostok, Ajax str., 10, office D524

Other publications by this author

Gun'ko Yuliya Aleksandrovna

PhD in Philology

Associate Professor, Department of Russian as a Foreign Language, Far Eastern Federal University

690022, Russia, Primorsky Krai, Vladivostok, Ajax str., 10, room 711










Abstract: The purpose of this study is to identify and describe the specifics of the functioning of metaphorical transference and its role in public dialogue. The material for the analysis was transcribed video recordings of an interview with Daria Zlatopolskaya in the framework of the program "White Studio" of the television channel Culture. The object of the study is a structural metaphor, "that is, those cases when one concept is structurally metaphorically ordered in terms of another" [11, p. 35]. The subject of the study is the process of origin and the nature of the deployment of metaphorical transference in public dialogue. The authors pay special attention to the description of the mechanism (model) of the functioning of metaphor, as well as the integrating function of metaphorical transfer in public dialogue. In addition, the paper presents linguistic tools demonstrating the transfer of signs of the source sphere to the target sphere in metaphorical projection.The method of scientific observation, the descriptive method (including methods of observation, generalization, interpretation), the method of semantic analysis, the method of contextual analysis, the method of pragmatic analysis. The scientific novelty of the study lies in considering the role of structural metaphor in building a public dialogue, in looking at metaphorical transfer not as an unusual use of a word, but as a transfer of one situation to another, unfolding throughout the whole communicative episode or part of it. As a result of the study, it was concluded that metaphorical transference is the result of the cocreation of speakers, the stimulus of which in most cases is set by the presenter. Metaphorical transference connects the communicative episodes of a TV interview as a communicative event, performing an integrating function. During the conversation, the presenter and the interlocutor actualize certain aspects of the source sphere or the target sphere, as a result of which the metaphor narrows or expands. The constant return to a given metaphor determines the nonlinear structure of public dialogue.


metaphor, metaphorical transfer, cognitive metaphor, structural metaphor, dialogic speech, public dialogue, television Interview, communicative event, communicative episode, structure of the dialogue

This article is automatically translated. You can find original text of the article here.

In modern linguistics, two approaches to the study of metaphor are common: formal and cognitive.

The formal approach consists in looking at metaphorical transfer as "the use of a word (phrase, sentence) intended to designate some objects (situations) of reality for naming or characterizing other objects (situations) based on the conditional identity of the predicative features attributed to them" [9, p. 24].

The cognitive approach is presented in the works of J. Lakoff and M. Johnson, A. N. Baranov, E.K. McCormack, N.D. Arutyunova, M. Black, and others. The main thesis of this approach boils down to the idea that at the heart of each metaphor "are procedures for processing knowledge structures frames and scenarios." A metaphor is understood as the result of the interaction of two cognitive knowledge structures, as a result of which the content of one conceptual domain (target sphere) is comprehended through another (source sphere). [4, p. 9]

One of the main functions of metaphor is cognitive, which consists in the fact that "metaphor allows us to understand rather abstract or inherently unstructured entities in terms of more specific or at least more structured entities" [4, p. 10].

We are interested in how a metaphor behaves in a public dialogue. Dialogue, in turn, we consider as "a complete verbal interaction and an integral work of speech generated by communicants within the framework of a single communicative event" [7, p. 13]. Following Borisova I.N., we understand a communicative event as "a limited in space and time, motivated, holistic, socially conditioned process of verbal interaction of communicants" [6, p. 11]. A special unit of division of a communicative event is a communicative episode, distinguished on the basis of communicative and active signs and the presence in the text of formal and semantic indicators of coherence and thematic unity [7, p.22]. The integrity and coherence of the text can be achieved both by typical linguistic means (language staples, contact words, different types of repetitions) and thematically [8, p. 435].

The organizer of the communicative episode is the presenter of the TV interview, since the right to ask questions and choose the topic of conversation, to implement the main strategy in the TV interview belongs to him. Both interlocutors participate in the process of generating metaphorical transference, but in the vast majority of cases it is the presenter who initiates the generation of the primary metaphor, which develops and changes during further discussion as a result of mutual interpretation of speech acts.

The interviewer offers the interlocutor a topic within the framework of a metaphorical transfer, appealing to some fact from his past. If the interlocutor accepts the proposed topic and the sign system for its unfolding, we observe how the abstract X (target sphere) is explained through the objective Y (source sphere) within the framework of a conceptual metaphor.

Let's consider the described process of the origin and deployment of metaphor in more detail on the material of Daria Zlatopolskaya's interview with Valery Todorovsky (the White Studio 2020 program).

During the dialogue, a new communicative episode arises, at the beginning of which Zlatopolskaya appeals to the story of Peter Todorovsky (the father of the interviewee) about the war. We highlight a meta-textual marker of a topic change, which indicates the beginning of a new communicative episode of the interview.

Zlatopolskaya: Your dad / talking about the war / such an unexpected turn / of the topic / he / said very accurately // What happens when you get to the front / You were very brave at first / you get up to attack / everything is easy for you / you are not afraid of anything / but as soon as you get the first wound / even a frivolous one / you don't feel invulnerable anymore / and then it's very difficult to regain that feeling again that you can / get up to attack / and generally / return to the front line //

Based on the general context, Daria Zlatopolskaya transfers the experience of being wounded in war to the experience of failure in peaceful life, giving rise to the primary metaphor of INJURY is FAILURE.

Zlatopolskaya: probably some failures can be called such a wound / after which you stop feeling your invulnerability //

The creation of a metaphor is based on concepts from a person's immediate environment, since the closer the concept is to the recipient, the more successful the metaphor. [1] On the one hand, Zlatopolskaya appeals to the experience of Todorovsky, who most likely heard his father's stories about the war, on the other an appeal to his experience of experiencing failures, which in a certain form all people have, especially creative people.

Todorovsky: I have always felt vulnerable and continue to feel vulnerable // I do not have / a certain picture of the world and myself / in which I have / my place / my role / and / and this is already such armor / yes / I am sitting / in this trench / and I know that this is already my trench / there / they won't finish shooting there / the projectile won't reach there // no / I have a feeling that I am quite standing in a bare field / and any projectile can hit me /

Todorovsky: you know / yes / I want to get out of this field / where the shooting is going on / tracer bullets are flying in all directions / and climb into a normal trench / yes / and there / already from the trench / shoot / quietly somewhere / but to know / what won't fly in there / and if it does, then some small splinter is accidental / yes / but the projectile will not directly hit / and in order to get into this trench, you finally need to decide / who am I / I am who / and I am afraid of this state most of all / because at that moment / when I understand / Who am I / everything / I'm finished //

Todorovsky accepts the proposed topic and develops this idea within the framework of a structural metaphor, the LIFE (of the DIRECTOR) (the target sphere) IS WAR (the source sphere), conceptualizing his life and the lives of his colleagues in terms of war. The metaphor OF LIFE (DIRECTOR) THE WAR is based on the juxtaposition of feelings of fear and a sense of invulnerability, a safe trench and a field in which there is a firefight. In the trench, a quiet life "in armor" and a sense of calmness, which are possible when a person stops bullying and taking risks. Armor is interpreted as "its place", a list of merits that can be put up as armor and protected from failure (injury), that is, not to do anything new and therefore not to take risks. The situation when a person sits in a trench and "shoots quietly somewhere", that is, he does not take risks and retains minimal visibility of activity, is transferred to a situation when a person stops trying to do something new in his professional field.

As a result of metaphorical transference, Todorovsky talks about life (professional activity) in terms of war. This is reflected in the choice of vocabulary. Thus, text fragments structured by the metaphor of LIFE is WAR are filled with vocabulary that can be combined into lexicothematic groups with the nuclear (dominant) semes "WAR" and "CREATIVITY".

The LTG "WAR" includes the following groups of words and expressions:

Noun groups: combat formations, sections of the front (front, front line, trench); conditions and actions related to war (war, attack, skirmish, injury, vulnerability, invulnerability); ammunition (projectile, bullets, shrapnel);

Groups of verbs: decisive behavior, struggle (attack, get up, go, return); related to the use of weapons (fly, fly, shoot, finish shooting, fly, hit, hit, get); refusal to fight (get out, climb); verbs in the form of a participle with the meaning of the characteristics of combat projectiles (tracer).

The LTG "CREATIVITY" includes the following groups of words and expressions:

Noun groups: the role of a person in art (profession, role, classic, student); media (film, interview); prize (award);

Verb groups: expression of attitude, evaluation (praise, scold); decisive action, violation (bully, break);

Groups of adjectives: characteristics of the process (unhurried).

The end of a communicative episode based on the metaphor "LIFE IS WAR" is marked by a change of theme, as indicated by the particle "here" with the meaning of an illustration, appealing to the 1963 film "The Servant".

Zlatopolskaya: A person is looking for / this is a safe place / in different ways / and in particular here is a picture / that I know / you love / "Servant" / this is a picture that I also love very much and // maybe it makes sense to remind someone that there is a very simple plot //

Despite the change of communicative episodes, communicants return several times to the framework of the metaphor of LIFE WAR, highlighting narrower metaphors (subframes) TO BE DECEIVED TO GET (PHYSICALLY) INJURED, A SENSE OF VULNERABILITY DISTRUST OF PEOPLE. The negative experience of human relationships, betrayal, is comprehended through the physical experience of mutilation. The feeling of vulnerability caused by a physical injury is transferred to the distrust of people that arises after betrayal.

In a new communicative fragment, the beginning of which is indicated by a metatextual marker of a topic change, Zlatopolskaya highlights one of the aspects of life - human relations, shifting the focus from the professional life of the interlocutor to the personal one.

Zlatopolskaya: But if you go back to the topic of invulnerability now / that's good in your work you've never had it, but now you said / that in terms of relationships / you felt a certain sense of invulnerability // It seemed to you that this could not happen to you //< ...>

In the following excerpt, we see a meta-text output marker. Zlatopolskaya suggests that the interlocutor return to the metaphor given in the previous communication fragment TO BE DECEIVED TO GET INJURED.

Zlatopolskaya: <...> in that case, we can say that you got this wound after all / yes / that is, a certain person changed your idea of what is possible between people at all / Can you leave behind and trust people again or is it still strong / like...

Todorovsky: Before, no, no, no / no / it's obvious / This is called an experience / yes / injury <...>

Todorovsky again accepts the proposed sign system, starting to talk about peaceful life and relationships with people in terms of war.

One of the features of the functioning of metaphorical transference in public discourse, in our opinion, is the constant expansion or narrowing of the already used part of the metaphor, which is possible due to the active successful interaction of communicants. Using the example of a TV interview with Valery Todorovsky, we trace the alternating narrowing and expansion of the target of metaphorical transference:FAILURE (PHYSICAL) INJURY --> LIFE WAR --> BETRAYAL (PHYSICAL) INJURY

Other metaphorical shifts in public discourse that we have analyzed are constructed in a similar way. For example, in an interview with Nikita Mikhalkov ("White Studio", 2014), communication unfolds within the framework of the ontological metaphor of a PERSON as a MUSICAL INSTRUMENT. This metaphor is based on the experience of dealing with a material object (musical instruments), which allows you to interpret the abstract role of a person through a subject a musical instrument.

The metaphorical transfer we are interested in unfolds in a communicative episode, the beginning of which is marked by a metacommunicative element of speech with the meaning of introducing the topic.

Zlatopolskaya: It was very interesting that you told / when you staged Chekhov with the Italians / and you couldn't get out of them just like that / they didn't come into contact with this world / this lace / and then you took advantage of the idea of Mikhail Chekhov himself / who was already mentioned here / an incredibly talented person / that every art aspires to be music in the long run //

Mikhalkov: similar to music / yes //

Zlatopolskaya: yes / similar to music // and you invited all the artists to present themselves with musical instruments and that's when they kind of started to succeed //

Zlatopolskaya sets the metaphor "art is music", within which a communicative episode will be built, using Mikhail Chekhov's statement that any art tries to be like music. At the same time, there is a narrowing of the purpose of metaphorical transfer: Zlatopolskaya refers to Mikhalkov's experience in staging a theatrical work. The purpose of the transfer was initially the participants of the creative process (actors, characters). Mikhalkov accepts the proposed topic, and further communication within the framework of a communicative episode is built within the framework of a given metaphor: the process of theatrical production is understood as music (a piece of music), and the participants in this process as musical instruments and the sounds they make.

According to Mikhalkov, in order to accurately convey the character of the hero, the actors need to correlate each character with a particular musical instrument. This allows you to highlight the frame "MAN is A MUSICAL INSTRUMENT" and the subframes "ACTOR is A MUSICAL INSTRUMENT", "CHARACTER is A MUSICAL INSTRUMENT".

Mikhalkov: <...> therefore, when they began to speak words / but / they say words / everything according to the text / I say why / well, what do you say / they say how / it is written there / I say / what difference does it make what is written there // well, what difference does it make / what is written there // well, they don't understand just that // and that's when I remembered / just came to my aid / by the grace of God / Mikhail Chekhov / who mentions this phrase / this thought / that any art tries to be like music / everything <...> so // what do you think / that's who // what kind of instrument is this hero / there / Shcherbuk // well, how / well, that's how / what kind of musical instrument is he / if he were an instrument / he could be there / harp // no / of course he can't // but with a flute / he can't // and who can he / and maybe // a timpani / yes / a timpani can / and also // a tuba / o / pop pop pop pop...[imitates tuba] Oh / this / and you / and you / and this // and now you all remember tararari [humming] / and so everyone / so to speak / at the time / when they should enter with their text / instead of / saying the words / play me this instrument / this phrase / play not the meaning of it / but how would a flute do it / or how would // they have a different plastic // because Shcherbuk can't sing to the navel anymore / and he's all plastically changed / and everyone else / this is a very interesting thing //

In the next communicative episode, Zlatopolskaya shifts the focus of attention from the rehearsal of the play in the Italian theater to the personality of Mikhalkov (his colleagues) as a director. The beginning of a new communicative episode and a deviation away from the main topic is indicated by the marker of the direction of the train of thought "by the way".

Zlatopolskaya: by the way, which instrument are you using?

Mikhalkov: I would like to be a piano //

Zlatopolskaya: well //

Mikhalkov: organ // no / generally a good question of course / I never thought about it // I wanted to be an organ / but I turned out to be a drum / pioneer // I'm not taking any chances /

Zlatopolskaya: well / at least the greatness of the idea /

Mikhalkov: yes / of course // but in general, by and large/ the question is wonderful / because / directing is an organ // because // because / if the director is a drum / then he has a movie / so to speak / and the actors play like drums / it's important // the piano / here's a piano, probably / a piano // and let's say / that's interesting / oh / a wonderful question / I'll talk to the students / when I launch the academy / who is which instrument / Fellini which instrument / it is very interesting //

In this communicative episode, we highlight the "DIRECTOR IS A MUSICAL INSTRUMENT" subframe. Thus, in this interview we see two communicative episodes structured by a common metaphor of a PERSON being a MUSICAL INSTRUMENT.

In an interview with Kama Ginkas ("White Studio", 2018), part of the dialogue is organized by a structural metaphor based on an orientation metaphor associated with the opposition "up down".

In a new communicative episode, Zlatopolskaya addresses the personal childhood experience of the interlocutor. She transfers the situation when a person is drowning to the professional activity of the interlocutor. Ginkas accepts the proposed theme, developing it into a metaphor. As in the example above, the beginning of a communicative episode is marked with a meta-text topic entry marker.

Zlatopolskaya: You told me how you drowned as a child / this is also such an amazing thing / that I see in your performances / that / in order to swim out / yes / you need to touch the bottom / because you are from it ...

Ginkas: not to touch / but to reach the very bottom / just to reach // it may not be enough to touch / that is, to reach the bottom / until you reach the bottom / you will not swim // this is me / really / oddly enough / discovered at the age of six or seven // well, the truth is then not so deep / not so philosophically / but very practically / because I pushed off from the bottom / understood only then I would be saved / / by sticking my mouth out of the water and shouting / save / and again I understood further / that I had to reach the bottom again / otherwise I would drown // I was waiting / when I reached the bottom / to push off and jump out again //

Zlatopolskaya: It's amazing //

Ginkas: and this is all my life // maybe not everyone / I'm talking about myself // I have repeatedly had such moments in my life / when I / reached the bottom / naturally not wanting it / but reached the bottom / and / and / and so it turned out / which is exactly when I reached the very bottom / here it is very important / exactly to the very bottom / and not so if it doesn't work out a little bit / I have to go to push off properly //

In this communicative episode, we see the disparity in the volume of exchanged remarks: Zlatopolskaya does not have time to utter her remark to the end, receiving an instant reaction from the interlocutor. Ginkas interrupts the presenter and transfers a specific experience from his past to the abstract concept of "failure", clarifying and developing what the interlocutor said with minimal effort from the presenter. For Kama Ginkas, life is a constant movement up and down, from failure to success: in order to succeed (swim out and escape), you need to reach the very bottom and push off (fail). The experience of success after big failures (crisis) is explained through the experience of a person who was drowning.

The tendency that can be traced in this example is that after several communicative episodes that are thematically unrelated to the above, communicants return to the metaphor set earlier, expanding the target of metaphorical transfer from professional life to life in general.

During the interview, Zlatopolskaya again refers to the experience of experiencing the failures of the interlocutor, encouraging him to talk about the crisis moments of his biography, thereby returning communication to the framework of the metaphor set earlier. We see a metatext marker "then" with the meaning of explanation. "The speaker returns the narrative to a certain point in order to reveal a certain statement in more detail" [10]. Zlatopolskaya notes what the interlocutor told her as the most critical moment of his life (the bottom).

Zlatopolskaya: You said that at that moment / when you had such a / rather crisis moment / in your work and it intersected with life / because due to the fact that you did not have a job in the theater / you couldn't provide for your family there either // and so on // and you once said that you began to think that maybe your father was right, maybe that you needed to do something serious //

Ginkas: <...> and then I'm unemployed // I put on performances that are closed / one / then two years later / somehow I get a performance and it's closed / and so on and so on // and then there comes a moment / when there are just no performances for three years and they don't shine <...> I tried / it got even worse / because / you're like / a pin / getting out <...> and that's when it became clear that in general nothing else was shining / some kind of / what is the name of humility / that is, / just let's not in a religious sense / but in the simplest // and I resigned myself / That I'm nobody / That I'm zero / that this is a mistake // not because Dad said / but I just remembered / That dad / not because I need something / well // no // well, this is a mistake / this conceit / and I accepted it // that is, somewhere all my pride / and ambitions / disappeared // temporarily //

Zlatopolskaya: well, yes / you then touched / apparently / this bottom //

Ginkas: yes / and pushed off sharply //

We see that the metaphorical transfer does not structure the entire communicative episode, as in the previous examples, but is a kind of conclusion of all that has been said, linking this communicative episode with the previous ones. Due to this connection, the nonlinear composition of the interview does not prevent the interlocutors from successfully interpreting each other's remarks based on the general context already formed by the metaphor.

Thus, the mechanism of generating and deploying metaphorical transference in dialogic speech looks like this: the interviewer's proposal of a topic (an appeal to some fact from the interlocutor's past) within the framework of metaphorical transference --> The interlocutor's acceptance of the proposed topic and sign system --> The transfer of a given situation to the professional life of the interlocutor --> Conceptual metaphor X (sphere -target) Y (source sphere). In most cases, the initiator of the metaphor generation becomes the interviewer, which is due to the peculiarity of the genre of TV interviews, but depending on the characteristics of the interlocutor, this role can also be performed by a guest. One of the features of the functioning of metaphorical transference in public discourse is the alternate expansion or narrowing of the metaphor already used.

In an interview with Valery Todorovsky, we see the following movement: FAILURE (PHYSICAL) INJURY --> (expansion) LIFE WAR --> BETRAYAL (PHYSICAL) INJURY (narrowing).

In an interview with Nikita Mikhalkov, the change is unidirectional: ANY ART is MUSIC and AN ACTOR/THE CHARACTER/DIRECTOR IS A MUSICAL INSTRUMENT (narrowing).

Such changes tell us that the process of metaphorization is not finite and occurs throughout communication. In the public dialogues we have considered, the conceptual metaphor structures and connects individual interview segments, "permeating" the communicative episodes. This allows us to conclude that it has an integrating function.

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The article "The specifics of the functioning of structural metaphor in public dialogue", proposed for publication in the journal "Philology: Scientific Research", is undoubtedly relevant, due to the consideration of the specifics of the functioning of metaphor based on the material of public dialogues based on the material of the Russian language. The practical material of the study was the interview of Daria Zlatopolskaya with Valery Todorovsky (the White Studio program 2020), an interview with Nikita Mikhalkov (The White Studio, 2014), an interview with Kama Ginkas (The White Studio, 2018) The author applied an interdisciplinary approach, using both methods of cognitive linguistics and and stylistics. The work has an interdisciplinary focus. The article is innovative, one of the first in Russian linguistics devoted to the study of such topics in the 21st century. The article presents a research methodology, the choice of which is quite adequate to the goals and objectives of the work. The author turns, among other things, to various methods to confirm the hypothesis put forward. The following research methods are used: statistical, logical-semantic analysis, hermeneutical and comparative methods. We note the scrupulous work of the author on sampling illustrative material. This work was done professionally, in compliance with the basic canons of scientific research. The research was carried out in line with modern scientific approaches, the work consists of an introduction containing the formulation of the problem, the main part, traditionally beginning with a review of theoretical sources and scientific directions, a research and a final one, which presents the conclusions obtained by the author. The disadvantages include the lack of clearly defined tasks in the introductory part, the ambiguity of the methodology and the course of the study. It should be noted that the introductory part does not contain historical information on the study of this issue, both in general and in particular. It should be noted that the conclusion requires strengthening, it does not fully reflect the tasks set by the author and does not contain prospects for further research in line with the stated issues. The bibliography of the article contains 12 sources, among which theoretical works are exclusively in Russian, including translated ones. We believe that referring to the works of foreign researchers in the original language would undoubtedly enrich the work. Unfortunately, the article does not contain references to fundamental works such as monographs, PhD and doctoral dissertations. Technically, when making a bibliographic list, the generally accepted requirements of GOST are violated, namely, non-compliance with the alphabetical principle of registration of sources. In general, it should be noted that the article is written in a simple, understandable language for the reader. Typos, spelling and syntactic errors, inaccuracies in the text of the work were not found. The comments made are not significant and do not affect the overall positive impression of the reviewed work. The practical significance of the research lies in the possibility of using its results in the process of teaching university courses in stylistics and theoretical grammar. The article will undoubtedly be useful to a wide range of people, philologists, undergraduates and graduate students of specialized universities. The article "The specifics of the functioning of a structural metaphor in public dialogue" can be recommended for publication in a scientific journal.