Ontolog Forum

Session Introductory
Duration 1 hour
Date/Time November 20 2019 17:00 GMT
9:00am PST/12:00pm EST
5:00pm GMT/6:00pm CET
Convener Ken Baclawski

Ontology Summit 2020 MetaNet Metaphor Repository


  • Continue the discussion of Deep semantic automatic metaphor analysis by Professor Elise Stickles. Video Recording YouTube Video
  • Abstract (from last week): As analyzed in Conceptual Metaphor Theory, metaphors allow language users to exploit their rich and complex knowledge of one domain, such as the physical world, to understand and reason about another, often less structured and/or more abstract domain. Building on the foundation of Conceptual Metaphor Theory, the MetaNet project has developed formal representations of metaphors as mappings from one domain (the Source domain) to another (the Target domain) , and has built a structured repository containing a systematic network of searchable and interrelated metaphors, as well as a network of semantic frames that act as source and target domains of metaphors. The MetaNet metaphor repository consists of a very large compendium of attested metaphors, including time metaphors, mind metaphors, event structure metaphors, emotion metaphors, and morality metaphors. It also includes novel metaphors pertaining to target domains of interest to the project, which have centered on social problems such as issues of poverty, taxation, bureaucracy, governance, gun violence, and cancer. In addition to the searchable encyclopedia of systematically-linked metaphors and the semantic frames that constitute the source and target domains, the MetaNet project has been exploring metaphors in corpus data across four different languages, namely American English, Mexican Spanish, Iranian Persian, and Russian as spoken in Russia. The American English MetaNet repository is available as a Semantic MediaWiki at [1]. The goal of the MetaNet project has been to build a system that will extract linguistic manifestations of metaphor and automatically interpret them.
  • Bio: Elise Stickles is an Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia. She is a cognitive semanticist, meaning that she studies the relationship between linguistic meaning and form from a cognitive-functional perspective. Her research lies at the intersection of conceptual metaphor theory and embodied construction grammar approaches to syntax and lexical semantics. She focuses particularly on multimodal metaphoric constructions, comprising both linguistic and gestural content. Most of her research is on American English, but she also studies the metaphor and argument structure of American Sign Language.

Conference Call Information

  • Date: Wednesday, 20-November-2019
  • Start Time: 9:00am PST / 12:00pm EST / 6:00pm CET / 5:00pm GMT / 1700 UTC
  • Expected Call Duration: 1 hour
  • The Video Conference URL is
    • iPhone one-tap :
      • US: +16699006833,,689971575# or +16465588665,,689971575#
    • Telephone:
      • Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location): US: +1 669 900 6833 or +1 646 558 8665
      • Meeting ID: 689 971 575
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  • Chat Room



[12:13] ToddSchneider: How do metaphors evolve?

[12:13] ToddSchneider: Some come from physiological experiences.

[12:15] ToddSchneider: Some are derived from 'frames'.

[12:16] ToddSchneider: Shared frame role structure.

[12:17] John Sowa: Metaphor is the *normal* way of extending the vocabulary to new areas.

[12:18] John Sowa: Metaphors that have become part of the standard vocabulary are called dead metaphors.

[12:24] Ken Baclawski: The notion of "tree" is a common metaphor in biology and computer science, but in CS the root is at the top and leaves at the bottom, while in biology it is the other way around.

[12:25] Mark Underwood @knowlengr: @Ken whereas in the Knowledge Tree it is a serpentine structure designed to frustrate ontologists

[12:25] Mark Underwood @knowlengr: On the email thread, John alluded to how analogies / metaphor can be incorporated into (or by) restricted or constructed grammars that express relations within microtheories. There is interest in using methods like this to enhance transparency or explainability by creating metaphorical counterparts for specialized algorithms. The software engineer is seen as the most likely role to advocate for this approach

[12:31] janet singer: Arguably the explosion of interest in graph databases and knowledge graphs is due to graph being a more powerful base metaphor than tables + inference rules

[12:33] Mark Underwood @knowlengr: @Janet exactly why we *elevated* this as a Summit topic

[12:36] Mark Underwood @knowlengr: @Elise One connection that spawns interest is the explainability problem, which we worked on in our last summit

[12:36] Ken Baclawski: @janet: As an earlier example of metaphor in technology was the switch from "information superhighway" to "web". Incidentally, a web is also a graph.

[12:37] Mark Underwood @knowlengr:

[12:37] RaviSharma: is grass is greener on the other side a metaphor?

[12:38] RaviSharma: what are differences in idioms, similes and metaphors same or how similar?

[12:41] RaviSharma: Ken - only humans are opposite, with roots (brain) at top and branches and leaves at bottom

[12:41] janet singer: A shift in the base metaphor of a technology that accompanied popularization was going from horseless carriage to automobile

[12:43] Ken Baclawski: @janet: The earliest horseless carriages used reins to control the direction. But the metaphor that was eventually accepted was from ships.

[12:44] janet singer: @Ken And web having a graph character makes KGs a natural metaphor for further semantic technology development

[12:47] janet singer: Didn't know that about car reins! But that illustrates John's/Elise's lateral knowledge development answer to Todd about origin of metaphors

[12:48] Ken Baclawski: @janet: In fact, there are two ways to control a ship. The other (for smaller boats) is the tiller. Some early horseless carriages used tillers.

[12:50] Mark Underwood @knowlengr: One of my software engineer favs: hard-coding is too easy

[12:57] RaviSharma: Elise - thanks for explaining

[13:00] Mark Underwood @knowlengr: @Elise - Wondering ... Is there any explicit academic work to connect MetaNet frames to Domain Specific Language design practices?

[13:01] Ram D. Sriram: @Elise: Great discussion. My apologies for mispronouncing your name.

[13:01] Ram D. Sriram: I need to log off and get on to another call

[13:02] John Sowa: I have a hard stop at 1 pm. I have to sign off now.

[13:02] Mark Underwood @knowlengr: acknowledged, thanks Elise

[13:05] ToddSchneider: Have to go. Thank you.

[13:14] Mark Underwood @knowlengr: Ken, Design Patterns from Ontology might be a 2021 topic if we live that long

[14:15] Mark Underwood @knowlengr: @Janet and Ken - connection to simulation is also relevant . see SISO standards group


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