[Introduction] If metaphor is to be viewed as a fundamental cognitive agency, as recent
work suggests, what ramifications does this view have for a model of
semantic memory? This paper presents a computational treatment of
metaphor comprehension, named Sapper (see Veale & Keane 1993, 1994),
which is built upon a parallel, adaptive, and learning network model of
semantic memory. Sapper is a hybrid symbolic/connectionist model which
views the interpretation of novel metaphors as a process of connectionist
bridge-building, a process which subsequently alters the activation dynamics
between different conceptual schemata in semantic memory, thereby causing
these schemata to interact (following Black, 1962) in a representationally
Sapper employs a bottom-up approach to metaphor comprehension, one
which encourages the existing structure of semantic memory to shape and
accommodate the most natural interpretation for each concept juxtaposition.
In this w...