Table 2

Examples of concrete and abstract, novel metaphorical and literal expressions

ConcreteAbstract
tracteur bavardtalkative tractordemande briséebroken request
narration mielleusehoneyed narrativeaffirmation biscornuequirky statement
agenda maigrelean agendaimprudence videempty recklessness
Metaphoramende piquantezesty finerèglement tricotéknitted settlement
rumeur bouillanteboiling rumoroubli densedense oblivion
pensée enfuméesmoky thoughtphrase graisseusefat sentence
branche dansantedancing branchconcept tuméfiéswollen concept
figue croquantecrunchy figbatelet uséused dinghy
chouquette délicieusedelicious owlsoldat maigriotskinny soldier
mamie hurlantescreaming grannycatacombe ferméeclosed catacomb
Literalnectarine piquantezesty nectarineglaive décoréedecorated sword
sucrerie pimentéespicy candyconserve empiléestacked can
marmelade coulanteflowing marmaladeartiste rassasiéesatiated artist
lasagne bouillanteboiling lasagnacolloque videempty conference
  • Both conditions were split along their respective median concreteness values. Since less concrete literal expressions are not truly abstract and do not constitute a theoretically sound category, the best exemplars of the concrete literal condition, high concreteness literals served as baseline for comparison with both high-concreteness and low-concreteness (i.e., abstract) metaphors.