Metaphor Links
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Links to Metaphor Sites of Interest

Indexed compendium of Primary Conceptual Metaphors maintained at the University of California, Berkeley and inspired by the work of Lakoff, Johnson and others.

The theory of conceptual metaphor by George Lakoff.  It is a chapter in Ortony (1993) which is a compact presentation of a lot of basic work on metaphor.

Metaphor Analysis Project is funded by the UK's National Centre for Research Methodology, awarded to Lynn Cameron and the MetNet Group, and does serious research on metaphor and metonymy in spoken and written discourse.  The site presents theoretical approaches to metaphor that go beyond cognitive metaphor theory, and highly useful methodologies for finding and using metaphor as it occurs dynamically in everyday use..

Researching and Applying Metaphor International Association (RaAM) is a newly formed organization growing out of a ten-year old and very successful conference program.  Their website is just beginning (as of Jan 2007) to list the diverse work being done by a group of very dedicated metaphor researchers.

Metaphor and Metonymy Group  was formed in 1995-1996, maintains a collection of abstracts of papers concerning metaphor and metonymy, offers background information on metaphor and contains a "figurative language network" as well as other links.

Metaphor database with detailed breakdown of route analogies developed by Andrew Goatly and others at Lingnan University.  (The database requires registration of the user, but the route analogy table is open access.)

List of computer metaphors compiled by John Woollard at Dublin City University computation applications department.  Wide sampling of metaphoric computer terminology, includes good illustrations and graphics.  Also see Metaphors We Compute By, by John M. Lawler this is a transcript of a lecture delivered at the University of Michigan on the relationship between metaphors and computers.  Defines metaphors and how they work, and provides examples of metaphors involving computers.  It concerns metaphor in literature.

Early article on metaphor in mediation:  Actually a set of articles by John Haynes entitled Metaphor and Mediation.  He gives a rationale for the use of particular metaphors during the course of mediation sessions and offers many interesting examples.  As far as I know these articles were never published other than on the web.

A "perceptual filter" view of metaphor by Suzette Haden Elgin, particularly as used in mediation.  She discusses ways to overcome entrenched metaphors operating as perceptual filters (e.g., overcoming the frequently found metaphor, Argument is Combat).

Metaphors for organizations are documented by James Lawley, treating organizations and their behavior.  Part 2 of the article (linked from this one) gives an NLP modeling paradigm for organizational change.  Interesting for its identification of metaphoric concepts in our thinking about organizations.  This line of work is based on David Grove's Clean Language approach to getting therapy patients to use their own metaphors in expressing themselves. 

Governance Through Metaphor presents an extensive project of the Union of International Associations that maps the metaphors used to study, describe and plan for government.

ATT-Meta Project Databank  is maintained by John Barnden and contains examples of Usage of Metaphors of Mind.  The databank mainly contains real-discourse examples of metaphoric descriptions of mental states and processes.  Examples are:  Ideas and Emotions as Physical Objects, Ideas as Possessions, Mind as Animate Being, Mind as Physical Space, Ideas as External Entities, Cognizing as Seeing.  It also contains some examples of the use of metonymy in mental state descriptions.

Peter Carleton's MetaSelf page uses Primary Conceptual Metaphor of spatial relations to talk about oneself in time and space.  This material is well developed in terms of spatial metaphor and offers teaching and learning tools and many suggestions for its use.  

Metaphors in Various Disciplines is a list of links maintained by Virginia Montecino that includes names like Lakoff, Turner, etc., but also a number of unexpected connections to scholarly metaphor study in many additional fields.  Here is an additional paper reviewing Glue, Verb and Text Metaphors in Biology by Ray Paton.  Metaphors of growth, game, language, drama, machine, time and space are claimed to constitute Western thought.

Blending and conceptual integration offers explanations of the conceptual blending approach to understanding metaphor and category formation.  The site is rich in links to the work of Lakoff, Johnson, Turner, Fauconnier and others, as is found here.

Cognitive approaches to literature  including literary analysis, evolutionary theories of mind, modeling prehistory and discussions of narrative consciousness often relate to metaphor and can be found, containing many informative links; also see another example here.

How to "force" a metaphor.  For those who believe that metaphor occurs naturally, what would it mean to have a "fill-in-the-blanks formula for writing a fascinating metaphor. (Writing compelling copy has never been this easy!) More than a dozen world-class metaphors to model," as is offered here to professional writers?

Executive coaching schools recognize "the role of metaphor in structuring our subjective reality" and the "potential of this link between metaphor and subjective reality for using metaphor in coaching." 

Psychotherapists use metaphor and I include a number of books on this subject in the site bibliography.  A review of another book raises a number of issues including the question of metaphors introduced by therapists versus those spontaneously used by clients.  Another argues that patient-generated and therapist-generated metaphors may offer important increases in therapeutic potency.

Meaning-making (a constructionist approach to the self-organizing processes unique to each client) involves the use of client metaphors in employment counseling "...moving beyond rational explanations of experiences to deeper underlying beliefs, values, and assumptions."

Metaphors in business management "...communicate the essence of policies and strategies and... are almost entirely based on military or sporting situations: 'zapping the competition', 'target audiences', 'advertising ammunition', 'keeping the ball in play', 'scoring points'... declaring 'war' on problems."  I reference some business-oriented complexity metaphors on this site.


[The following links are currently broken, but I still am trying to find them.]

Diverse metaphor site maintained by Tim Rohrer at the University of Oregon Philosophy Department, has a bibliography, links, and resources. is the site maintained by Charles Phillips regarding the Metaphor Project at Southside Virginia Community College, Keysville, Virginia for teachers of English.  It is devoted to the use of metaphor (including analogy, simile and comparison) in the teaching of writing.  My impression is that, when literature professors get involved with metaphor, they often go for the more flowery, dramatic kind -- not the Primary Conceptual Metaphors -- but you will see from the material on this site how metaphor can stimulate literary creativity.  It includes connection to Primary Conceptual Metaphor also, along with an interesting bibliography. is an example of metaphor as inspired by Milton Erickson and hypnotic metaphor, pitched to appeal to certain types of psychotherapists. is a highly useful and insightful source maintained by Tony Veale at the School of Computer Applications, Dublin City University, focusing largely on the computational approach to metaphor research.  It contains a broad scope of reviews of the metaphor literature, a cross-referenced library of papers, an indexed Encyclopaedia Metaphorica ( ), and many additional links. is a site entitled "Metaphor in Scientific Thinking" and is full of information on metaphor in a variety of physical and biological sciences; maintained by Ray Paton [he is now deceased].