Synesthetic Metaphors

One of the first systematic studies of synaesthetic metaphors has to do with the directionality of mapping. Ullmann (1967) claims that con- cepts of so-called lower senses (on the left of the hierarchy shown in Fig. 1) should be more likely to occur in the source domain of synaes- thetic metaphors, while concepts of higher senses (on the right side of the hierarchy) should be more likely to occur in the target domain. His thesis of directionality entails that a metaphor with a concept from a

 

source domain lower in the hierarchy of sense modalities than the con- cept of the target domain should tend to occur more frequently in use than a metaphor with the reverse direction of domains. For example, a metaphor like cold redness (a mapping of touch onto color) is in line with the postulated hierarchy and therefore should be preferred to red coldness (a mapping of color onto touch), which contradicts the hierar- chy. To establish his claim Ullmann analyzes examples from lyric poetry like the following one:

 

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