A COGNITIVE-PRAGMATIC APPROACH TO METAPHOR AND METONYMY IN BRAND NAMES: A CASE STUDY OF FILM TITLES
Huiheng Zeng/ The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
This paper analyzes the cognitive and pragmatic roles of conceptual metaphors and metonymies in brand names. By investigating a corpus of 535 Oscar film titles, it argues that metaphor and metonymy are two powerful naming strategies for film branding. Abundant evidence reveals that film titles are rich in metaphor and metonymy and relevant cognitive operations are activated to generate the drawing of inferences from the semantic cues provided by metaphorical and metonymic film titles. Specifically, in metaphorical titles, the correlation operation can limit the risk of negative inference generations and the comparison operation can enhance the degree of lexical richness that helps film plot conceptualization; in metonymic titles, the domain expansion operation can highlight film plot information, and the domain reduction operation can present abundant film contents which makes film title more economical. In this way, metaphor and metonym are taken as safe and effective film branding and marketing strategies. The cognitive analysis of film title contributes to studies in brand names, verifies and supplements cognitive-pragmatic theories and also sheds light on cognitive research in advertising discourse.
Key words: metaphor, metonymy, cognitive operation, branding, film titles