Friday, June 03, 2011

The intelligence establishment and metaphor research

We're all used to defense money going to language-related work ... language learning/teaching, speech recognition, corpus stuff, and on and on. You might not have expected work on metaphor there, but that's getting funded too, according to this piece in the Atlantic, by Alexis Madrigal.

In fact, here's a call for proposals out there from IARPA:
The Metaphor Program will exploit the fact that metaphors are pervasive in everyday talk and reveal the underlying beliefs and worldviews of members of a culture. In the first phase of the two-phase program, performers will develop automated tools and techniques for recognizing, defining and categorizing linguistic metaphors associated with target concepts and found in large amounts of native-language text. The resulting conceptual metaphors will be validated using empirical social science methods. In the second phase, the program will characterize differing cultural perspectives associated with case studies of the types of interest to the Intelligence Community. Performers will apply the methodology established in the first phase and will identify the conceptual metaphors used by the various protagonists, organizing and structuring them to reveal the contrastive stances.
I guess my point is just that you NEVER know where funding will pop up.

(Image from the article.)

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