Metaphor Familiarity and Interpretation Diversity

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  • 比喩理解における親しみやすさと解釈の多様性
  • ヒユ リカイ ニ オケル シタシミヤスサ ト カイシャク ノ タヨウセイ

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The purpose of this study was to directly investigate metaphor interpretation, which is thought to be diversified by the metaphor familiarity. Previous studies assessed interpretation process by investigating individual preferences for the form of the metaphor: “A is B” or “A is like B”. According to those studies, similarity is enhanced by metaphor familiarity; and the more similar the topic and the vehicle are, the more likely individuals are to prefer “A is B” over “A is like B” and vice-versa. The preference shown by the individuals indirectly predicts the metaphor's interpretation diversity. In this study, we directly examined metaphor interpretation diversity. By using multi-dimensional scaling to represent the participants' metaphor understanding, we examined the relationship between familiarity and metaphor interpretation. The results revealed that the number of familiar metaphors which were accepted as apt interpretations by the participants was larger than that of unfamiliar metaphors. In addition, while for the familiar metaphors the pattern of interpretation was similar between participants, for the unfamiliar metaphors, it was different.


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