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Welcome to the Digital Humanities Network

Digital Humanities is transforming the practice of arts-based or arts-linked research, and the University of Glasgow has one of the strongest and longest-established communities of scholars in this area. Our Digital Humanities network, supported by ArtsLab, offers a forum for sharing expertise and building connections both within and beyond the University's College of Arts. Ann Gow & Marc Alexander

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Mapping Metaphor with the Historical Thesaurus

Mapping Metaphor with the Historical Thesaurus

Mapping Metaphor uses the database of the Historical Thesaurus to survey the workings of metaphor in English over thirteen centuries. Over the past 30 years, it has become clear that metaphor is not simply a literary phenomenon; metaphorical thinking underlies the way we make sense of the world conceptually. When we talk about ‘a healthy economy’ or ‘a clear argument’ we are using expressions that imply the mapping of one domain of experience (e.g. medicine, sight) onto another (e.g. finance, perception). When we describe an argument in terms of warfare or destruction (‘he demolished my case’), we may be saying something about the society we live in. The study of metaphor is therefore of vital interest to scholars in many fields, including linguists and psychologists, as well as to scholars of literature.

However, key questions about metaphor remain to be answered; for example, how did metaphors arise? Which domains of experience are most prominent in metaphorical expressions? How have the metaphors available in English developed over the centuries in response to social changes? With the completion of the Historical Thesaurus, we can begin to address these questions comprehensively and in detail for the first time: this is the aim of the Mapping Metaphor project.