The aims of the book
Metaphor in one form or another is absolutely fundamental to the way language systems develop over time and are structured, as well as to the way human beings consolidate and extend their ideas about themselves, their relationships and their knowledge of the world. Metaphor is, as a direct consequence, important to psychologists, sociologists, scientists, humorists, advertising copywriters, poets, literary commentators, philosophers, historical linguists, semantics researchers and even syntacticians. It is also of considerable importance to applied linguists, but, curiously, what can only be described as an explosion of research activity over the past twenty or so years, in a whole series of different disciplines, seems largely to have passed applied linguistics by. The result is that, while psychologists and philosophers have developed fairly coherent approaches to the topic of metaphor, it is still very unclear what we even mean by an applied linguistic approach.
Our primary aim is to help rectify this situation. Although the title Researching and Applying Metaphor is certainly intended to indicate that the focus of the book is on applied linguistic problems, it is also designed to flag as clearly as possible the fact that our major interest lies in research. We want to promote and encourage more goodquality research into metaphor, but to do this we need to begin to create an informed discussion within ‘the applied linguistics community’. This book is accordingly addressed primarily to applied linguists who have already undertaken some empirical research into metaphor, or who are thinking of doing so.