Metaphor is probably the most widely discussed literary topic in cognitive science. For decades several theoretical frameworks have tried to explain the cognitive architectures underlying metaphorical expressions. However, to date, the effectiveness of metaphors in revealing specific views about ourselves, the others and our environment has not been explored.
Neuro-Linguistic Programming (henceforth, NLP) has emphasised the role of language in shaping experience. Furthermore, NLP shows that the language we use reveals our dominant sensory mode. Specifically, metaphors constitute a useful means to uncover the most active sensory mode of an individual. Nevertheless, there exists a more fascinating and sophisticated way in which metaphors can help understand a speaker’s subjective experience of a particular situation. The conceptualization of a situation in terms of certain metaphors will predispose the individual to have a painful experience. Identifying exactly what type of metaphorical conceptualization is in force will uncover the individual’s perception of a situation.
In this paper, I will first outline the main theoretical approaches to metaphors. Following this, I will explain how NLP can take advantage of these theories in order to train professionals (teachers, therapists, etc.) who need to enhance their communicative skills. The main purpose of the metamodel I have devised is to allow us to understand what the other is saying by knowing what he has in his unconscious mind and, therefore, cannot be found out by asking specific questions.
|Keywords:||Metaphor, Neuro-linguistic Programming, Communication Skills, Cognitive Linguistics|
Profesora Titular de Universidad, Departamento de Filologías Extranjeras y sus Lingüísticas, UNED, Madrid, Madrid, Spain
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