Element Order in Metaphorical and Literal Phrases

Nira Mashal, Yeshayahu Shen, Debbie Kastel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The present study examines the role of a noun's concreteness in determining the order of nouns within literal and metaphorical conjunction constructions. Two experiments were conducted. In Experiment 1, 45 participants were asked to recall sentences with canonic and non-canonic order. In Experiment 2, 41 participants performed a lexical decision task to the final word of a canonic or non-canonic sentence. The results show that concreteness plays an important role in recalling word order in both literal and metaphorical sentences. In addition, canonic metaphorical sentences were processed faster than were non-canonic metaphorical sentences. Our findings suggest that concreteness affects element order in conjunction constructions but that the effect of concreteness is more pronounced in metaphorical phrases. These findings are discussed in the context of the class inclusion framework (Glucksberg & Keysar, 1990).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-128
Number of pages16
JournalMetaphor and Symbol
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by The Israel Science Foundation administered by The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, no. 1196/12 for Yeshayahu Shen.


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