From Perception to Metaphor

  • Robert E. Innis


In a fertile section of Sprachtheorie, Bühler constructed a heuristic model for understanding metaphor, specifying its connection with perceptual issues and with the continuing problem of abstraction. Bühler had noted that the formation of composites (Komposita) such as Hölzlekönig and Hölzlekönigin to denote two large trees in the Black Forest illustrates in their particularity the general procedure by which linguistic metaphors are formed (ST 342). Bühler’s point is that “every linguistic composite is metaphorical in some degree, and the metaphorical is no special linguistic manifestation” (ST 343), a statement echoing that of Quintilian’s that “paene omne dictum metaphora est.”


Phenomenal Character Language Theory Binocular Vision Meaning Structure Gestalt Theory 


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  1. 15.
    This topic has been taken up by H. Gardner and I. Winner in an essay in Sheldon Sacks (ed. ), On Metaphor (1979).Google Scholar
  2. 16.
    We cannot go into the problem of the conventionality of physiognomic and pathognomic metaphors and the degree to which they depend on linguistic preconceptions. In a future essay I hope to make available a critical evaluation of Bühler’s axiomatization of expression theory and to show its bearing on later research into this nonverbal domain of semiotics.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert E. Innis
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LowellLowellUSA

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