A Review of Visual Metaphor Based on Visual Typologies and Verbalization Forms

  •  Ziya Xu    
  •  Shuo Cao    
  •  Xuanyi Zhao    


This study is a result of literature review of visual metaphors in the fields of linguistics and advertising. The collected fifty papers came from CNKI. It provided an overview of previous literature, in terms of multi-modal studies of visual metaphor in advertising, the typologies of visual rhetoric and the verbalization of visual metaphor. Based on the identified research gaps, this study proposed suggestions for future research to enrich the theoretical framework of visual metaphor. The review found that the study of visual metaphors remain insufficient in three aspects. Firstly, the relevant studies are mostly in the field of marketing, and lack of extension in linguistics. Secondly, most studies concerned about the cognitive effects of visual metaphor in advertising, but the cognitive processing form of visual metaphor was less focused. Furthermore, although some studies have proved that verbalization is necessary for the comprehension of visual metaphors, there is still no clear conclusion regarding the specific verbalization forms of different types of visual metaphors. Specifically, three syntactic structures have been hypothetically proposed for fusion-structured visual metaphors, as “A is like B, A is B, A with B”, but no empirical evidence suggests which is the most effective in conceptual representation of fusion-structured visual metaphors in advertising. Through the analysis of the differences between these syntactic structures, the author proposed that the verbalization form “A is B” should be the most effective in representing fusion-structured visual metaphors in the context of advertising for its basic metaphorical structure, easily comprehensible form and strong transformational effect.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1925-4768
  • ISSN(Online): 1925-4776
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: quarterly

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