The Use of the Verb to Show: A Non-Linear Continuum of Meanings

Volume 15
Issue 2
Ghsoon Reda
This paper provides an analysis of the use of the verb to show. It places the analysis in the framework of Vyvyan Evans’s theory of Lexical Concepts and Cognitive Models (LCCM) – a protean approach to meaning composition and construction that deals with the way linguistic and conceptual structures interact, giving rise to meanings that can be placed on a continuum. The study adds to the elaboration of that theory, incorporating into the analysis John Barnden’s (2010) notion of a meaning continuum as a non-linear, or multidimensional, space. The notion is based on deconstructing metaphor and metonymy into multiple underlying dimensions, getting away from the traditional assumption that properties such as similarity and contiguity allow us to neatly distinguish between metaphorical and metonymic associations. Bringing together Barnden’s work and LCCM theory provides the framework for systematically approaching the possibility for metaphorical or metonymic processing to involve similarity as well as contiguity links between source and target in the process of constructing a situated meaning. The contribution that the study makes to cognitive semantics lies in its being the first attempt to examine complex figurative associations in the context of a meaning construction theory.

Key words: LCCM theory, meaning continuum, metaphor, metonymy, conception, perception