Reconstructing online metaphor processing and its optimal principles


  • Meixia Li Beijing International Studies University
  • Jiaxiang Han Renmin University of China



metaphor, online processing, meaning processing, discourse comprehension, reconstruction, optimal principles


Based on the review of previous research, this article, taking Conceptual Blending Theory and the Schema Theory as theoretical rationale, attempts to reconstruct the procedure of online metaphor processing in discourse comprehension and to tease out the factors influencing the metaphor processing. This is followed by the reporting of an experiment in which 36 Chinese university students participate. The results from data analysis show that this reconstruction is feasible. It is proposed that there are six optimal principles involved in online metaphor processing in discourse comprehension: the principle of economy, the principle of recursion, the principle of the target domain, the principle of the source domain, the principle of the context and the principle of the culture of the mother tongue.

Author Biographies

Meixia Li, Beijing International Studies University

Meixia Li received her PhD in linguistics from Beijing Normal University, China and is currently professor in Beijing International Studies University, China. Her research interests include text linguistics, cognitive linguistics, functional linguistics and corpus linguistics. She has published six books and sixty academic papers. Her most recent book-length publication is Language Formulae and Language in Use vol. 2 (2013, World Publication Press, China).

Jiaxiang Han, Renmin University of China

Jiaxiang Han received his MA Degree in linguistics from Beijing International Studies University, China in 2008 and currently works as an English teacher in the High School Affiliated to Renmin University of China (RDFZ). His research interests include psycholinguistics, cognitive linguistics and foreign language teaching methodology. He has published several academic papers.


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How to Cite

Li, M., & Han, J. (2015). Reconstructing online metaphor processing and its optimal principles. Journal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice, 6(2), 121–141.