When I asked a metaphor related question, that is now closed, I was told to read the following article by Richard Nordquist about the different metaphor types. I am now looking for a more authoritative reference to read more about it as I don't feel like I am quite grasping the classifications here. Can anyone recommend me a book or give me a name of the field that studies metaphors in detail and classifies them?

Additionally, there was mention of one more metaphor type called a 'universal metaphor' that is not covered in the above article. What is meant by a universal metaphor?

  • I can't grasp all of them either, especially as he doesn't seem to give examples. It seems a ridiculously long list. Jan 31 at 11:13
  • I couldn't get past his first type without checking out his earlier stuff defining tenor and vehicle as these terms are used in relation to metaphors. I'd never even heard of those usages before now, and his "universal metaphor" looks like more of the same only worse. At least "vehicle" and "tenor" were coined by someone else, and that terminology has some currency. But "universal metaphor"? It looks like his idea, so it means whatever he says he wants it to mean. Jan 31 at 11:54
  • Nordquist is a Professor Emeritus of Rhetoric and English. His primary article on metaphors expands on the types mentioned in the article cited in the question here. // However, you're almost certainly going to encounter different terminology, even different classifications, as you dig into various papers on metaphor. And there certainly seems to be overlap between members of Nordquist's list. Jan 31 at 12:09
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    There is a select bibliography in this paper by Veale & Han; Academia. 'Metaphors We Live By' by George Lakoff, Mark Johnson is a classic overview. Jan 31 at 12:14
  • Brave the person who embarks on an answer based on the work of Nordquist. Not I. I suspect that his types are largely expedient vehicles for the ways he wishes to discuss metaphors. I find it unsatisfactory that his types are not mutually exclusive. This leads to the consequence that some metaphors can be members of two or more types. This is not a sound basis for analysis.
    – Anton
    Jan 31 at 14:08
  • "Anton In 'Fixed Expressions and Idioms in English' (1998) - Rosemund Moon, the introductory chapter examines existing (credible) terminologies on that subject, and selects sensible stipulative definitions before commencing her own analysis and classification. We need a parallel work on metaphor/metaphors. //// 'Fixed Expressions, including the subset Idioms, in English' would be more accurate, but less punchy. Jan 31 at 15:12
  • A Practical Introduction to Metaphor by Kövecses is quite good. You should read Lakoff & Johnson first, though. Why do you want to categorize metaphors? Jan 31 at 20:10
  • @JohnLawler I simply wish to know it. I read the Nordquist categorization and it felt ambiguous and I wanted to know if anyone else finds it as such. Jan 31 at 20:58
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    Before you can categorize anything you have to understand it. Lakoff and Johnson should do that. Here's a review. Jan 31 at 22:43


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