The Korean Association for the Study of English Language and Linguistics

Current Issue

Korean Journal of English Language and Linguistics - Vol. 21

[ Article ]
Korea Journal of English Language and Linguistics - Vol. 21, No. 0, pp.71-86
Abbreviation: KASELL
ISSN: 1598-1398 (Print) 2586-7474 (Online)
Received 04 Jan 2021 Revised 14 Feb 2021 Accepted 25 Feb 2021

A Difference in Non-truthfulness between Metaphor and Metonymy
Yoon-kyoung Joh
Professor, Mokpo Nat’l University, Tel: 061-450-2122 (

© 2021 KASELL All rights reserved
This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons License, which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Funding Information ▼


For the non-truthfulness of metaphor, a delinking mechanism has previously been proposed. For that of metonymy, an implicit modifier-head construction has previously been advanced. Based on these two different mechanisms, this paper addresses a contrast that Warren (2003) observes. That is, a non-metaphoric reading and a metaphoric reading cannot be VP-conjoined sharing the same target subject. However, a non-metonymic reading and a metonymic reading can be VP-conjoined in a sentence with the same subject. We have explained this contrast with the fact that the delinking process for metaphors brings about a semantic contradiction when a non-metaphoric reading and a metaphoric reading are conjoined while the implicit head approach to metonymy does not ordinarily evoke a contradiction when a non-metonymic reading and a metonymic reading are conjoined even though there are some cases where a contradiction can indeed occur when the two readings are coordinated.

Keywords: metaphor, metonymy, delinking, modifier-head construction, conjunction


I thank all the reviewers of this paper for their insightful comments. This work was supported by the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea and the National Foundation of Korea (NRF-2019S1A5A2A03049825).

1. Davidson, D. 1978. What metaphor means. Critical Inquiry 5, 31-47.
2. Glucksberg, S. and B. Keysar. 1990. Understanding metaphorical comparisons: Beyond similarity. Philosophical Review 97, 3-18.
3. Joh, Y. K. 2017. Delinking and revaluing for metaphors. English Language and Linguistics 23.3, 47-64.
4. Kim, D. Y. 2013. Analyzing connection of metaphor and irony in advertisements. Korean Journal of Linguistics 38, 519-546.
5. Kittay, E. 1987. Metaphor: Its Cognitive Force and Linguistic Structure. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
6. Kövecses, Z. 2010. Metaphor: A Practical Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press.
7. Levin, S. 1977. The Semantics of Metaphor. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
8. Matthews, R. 1971. Concerning a linguistic theory of metaphor. Foundations of Language 7, 413-425.
9. Schumacher, P. 2019. Metonymy. Chris Cummins and Napoleon Katsos, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Experimental Semantics and Pragmatics, 316-330. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
10. Warren, B. 2003. An alternative account of the interpretation of referential metonymy and metaphor. In René Dirven and Ralf Pörings, eds., Metaphor and Metonymy in Comparison and Contrast, 113-130. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
11. Weinreich, U. 1966. Explorations in semantic theory. In Thomas Sebeok ed., Theoretical Foundations, 395-477. The Hague: Mouton.