Photographer: Dirk Gillissen

prof. dr. G.J. (Gerard) Steen

  • Faculty of Humanities
    Capaciteitsgroep Taalbeheersing, Argumentatietheorie en Retorica
  • Visiting address
    P.C. Hoofthuis
    Spuistraat 134  
  • Postal address:
    Spuistraat  134
    1012 VB  Amsterdam
    T: 0205254711

I am professor of Language and Communication ('Taalbeheersing') in the Department of Dutch Studies, for which I currently serve as Head of Department. I previously held chairs at VU University Amsterdam in Language and Communication (2013-2014) and in Language Use and Cognition (2007-2013). Prior to that I had positions as lecturer at VU University Amsterdam in English Language and Linguistics (and before then in Poetics) and the University of Tilburg in Discourse Studies (CIW), and as instructor at the University of Utrecht (in English Language and Linguistics).

For a recent interview about my work on metaphor in contrast with the work by Ray Gibbs, see the biangle interview by Katerina Rasulic published in Metaphor and the Social World 2017 (7:1):

An update of my views on metaphor can be found in my recent article on Deliberate Metaphor Theory:

In January 2017, The Routledge Handbook of Pragmatics, co-edited with Anne Barron and Yueguo Gu, was published with Routledge:

In June 2016, Genre in Language, Discourse and Cognition, co-edited with Ninke Stukker and Wilbert Spooren, came out with Mouton de Gruyter:

For a complete CV, see the attachment.

My research is about metaphor, genre, and language in discourse. I recently co-published The Routledge Handbook of Pragmatics, with Anne Barron and Yueguo Gu (Routledge, 2017) and Genre in Language, Discourse and Cognition, with Ninke Stukker and Wilbert Spooren (Mouton, 2016). Many of my publications can be downloaded from

I am Principal Applicant of the NWO Vrije Competitie program 'Resistance to metaphor', with 3 PhD and 2 postdoc positions (2016-2021).

I serve as advisor to Christian Burgers' NWO Veni project ‘Figurative framing: How metaphor, hyperbole and irony shape public discourse’, 2014-2017.

I am principal advisor of the following PhD theses:

  • Jie Fu, 'Metaphor in aphasia', ACLC, UvA, 2016-2020.
  • Andreas Finsen, 'Resistance to metaphor in science', ACLC, UvA, with Jean Wagemans, 2016-202.
  • Kiki Renardel de Lavalette, 'Resistance to metaphor in politics', ACLC, UvA, with Corina Andone, 2016-2020.
  • Dunja Wackers, 'Resistance to metaphor in the media', ACLC, UvA, with José Plug, 2016-2020.
  • Britta Brugman, 'How metaphorical frames influence voters'decision in political decision making', with Barbara Vis and Christian Burgers, 2016-2020.
  • Romy van den Heerik, ‘Metaphor in health communication’, ACLC, UvA, with Christian Burgers, and Charlotte van Hooijdonk, 2016-2020.
  • Amber Boeynaems, ‘Dynamics of figurative frames in Dutch public discourse,’ with Elly Konijn and Christian Burgers, 2014-2018.
  • Gudrun Reijnierse, ‘The value of deliberate metaphor’, with Christian Burgers and Tina Krennmayr, NWO P-GW, 2011-2016.

I am co-advisor of the following PhD theses:

  • Pia Sommerauer, 'Resolving distortions in semantic spaces defined by words by analysing relations between word, sense and reference', with Piek Vossen, NWO P-GW, 2017-2021
  • Anke Beger, ‘Metaphor in college lectures,’ with University of Flensburg, Flensburg Germany, 2011 – 2016, with Olaf Jaekel.

I am advisor of the following postdoc projects:

  • Roosmaryn Pilgram, 'Testing resistance to metaphor', with Jean Wagemans, 2017-2018
  • Lotte van Poppel, 'Modeling Resistance to metaphor', with Jean Wagemans, 2017-2018

My next invited talks about parts of this research are:

  • 'Deliberate Metaphor Theory and Style', Third International Communication Styles Conference, Krosno, Poland, 22-24 October 2017
  • 'Deliberateness and creativity in metaphorical language, cognition and communication', Metaphor: links between knowledge and semantical-conceptual innovation, Reggia Emilia, Italy, 9-10 November 2017

My teaching in 2017-2018 includes part of the 100 course on Leading Question in Cognition, Language and Communication in the BA CLC program, individual Tutorials in the RMA programs for Linguistics and for CIW (Communication, Rhetoric and Argumentation), and Research Internships in the RMA Cognitive Science.

In 2017-2018 I serve as chair of the Department of Dutch Studies, chair of the TAR group, director of the Metaphor Lab Amsterdam (, director of the research program on Metaphor in Discourse in the ACLC (, and member of the advisory board of the ACLC ( I am also a member of the advisory board of Neuro Humanities Studies, University of Catania (, and of the Scientific Advisory Board Nederlab (

I am chair of the Metaphor Festival 2017, an international conference in figuration, from 31 August through 3 September 2017 .

I am Associate Editor of the journal of Metaphor and Symbol, and member of the editorial board of Tijdschrift voor Taalbeheersing,, Scientific Study of Literature, Metaphor and the Social World, Functions of Language, Journal of Pragmatics, Language and Literature, and Review of Cognitive Linguistics.

I am series editor of the book series Metaphor in Language, Cognition and Communication (Amsterdam: John Benjamins) and a member of the scientific committee for the Neuro Humanities Studies book series YouRS—Young Researchers Studies in Neurohumanities (University of Catania, Italy), of Valencia Press at Universitat Politècnica de València, of the book series Figurative Thought and Language (Amsterdam: John Benjamins), and of the book series Cognitive Linguistic Studies in Cultural Contexts (Amsterdam: John Benjamins).


  • van der Hel, S., Hellsten, I. R., & Steen, G. J. (in press). Tipping points and climate change: metaphor between science and the media. Environmental Communication. DOI: 10.1080/17524032.2017.1410198 
  • van den Heerik, R. A. M., van Hooijdonk, C. M. J., Burgers, C., & Steen, G. J. (2017). “Smoking Is Sóóó … Sandals and White Socks”: Co-Creation of a Dutch Anti-Smoking Campaign to Change Social Norms. Health Communication, 32(7), 621-628. DOI: 10.1080/10410236.2016.1168000  [details] 


  • Burgers, C., Konijn, E. A., & Steen, G. J. (2016). Figurative framing: Shaping public discourse through metaphor, hyperbole and irony. Communication Theory, 26(4), 410-430. DOI: 10.1111/comt.12096  [details] 
  • Renardel de Lavalette, K. Y., Steen, G. J., & Burgers, C. F. (2016). How to Identify Moral Language in Presidential Speeches: A comparison between two methods of corpus analysis. Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory, 12(3).
  • Steen, G. J. (2016). Metaphor and style through genre, with illustrations from Caroll Ann Duffy’s Rapture. In V. Sotirova (Ed.), Companion to Stylistics. (pp. 308-324). Continuum Press.
  • Steen, G. J. (2016). Mixed metaphor is a case of deliberate metaphor. In R. Gibbs (Ed.), Mixing metaphor. (pp. 113-132). John Benjamins.
  • Steen, G. J. (2016). Sensory motor concepts and metaphor in usage. In L. Ströbel (Ed.), Sensory motor concepts in language & cognition. (pp. 85-108). Dusseldorf University Press.
  • Burgers, C. F., Brugman, B., Renardel de Lavalette, K. Y., & Steen, G. J. (2016). HIP: A method for linguistic hyperbole identification in discourse. Metaphor and Symbol, 31(3), 163-178.
  • Stukker, N., Spooren, W., & Steen, G. J. (2016). Genre in language, discourse and cognition: Introduction to the volume. In N. Stukker, W. S., & G. S. (Eds.), Genre in language, discourse and cognition. (pp. 2-12). De Gruyter Mouton.
  • Stukker, N., Spooren, W., & Steen, G. J. (Eds.) (2016). Genre in language, discourse and cognition. De Gruyter Mouton.


  • Reijnierse, W. G., Burgers, C., Krennmayr, T., & Steen, G. J. (2015). How viruses and beasts affect our opinions (or not): The role of extendedness in metaphorical framing. Metaphor and the Social World, 5(2), 245-263. DOI: 10.1075/msw.5.2.04rei  [details] 
  • Steen, G. (2015). Developing, testing and interpreting Deliberate Metaphor Theory. Journal of Pragmatics, 90, 67-72. DOI: 10.1016/j.pragma.2015.03.013  [details] 
  • Steen, G. (2015). Metaphor and style through genre, with illustrations from Carrol Ann Duffy’s Rapture. In V. Sotirova (Ed.), Bloomsbury companion to Stylistics. (pp. 308-324). London: Bloomsbury. [details] 
  • Burgers, C., Konijn, E. A., Steen, G. J., & Iepsma, M. A. R. (2015). Making ads less complex, yet more creative and persuasive: The effect of conventional metaphors and irony in print advertising. International Journal of Advertising, 34(3), 515-532. DOI: 10.1080/02650487.2014.996200  [details] 


  • Renardel de Lavalette, K. Y., Burgers, C. F., & Steen, G. J. (2016). Verzorgende ouders en strenge vaders: Morele metaforen in Amerikaanse politiek. Tekst[blad], 22(2), 12-15.

Book editor

  • Steen, G. J., Barron, A. (Ed.), & Gu, Y. (Ed.) (2017). Routledge Handbook of Pragmatics. Routledge.

Talk / presentation

  • Andone, Corina (speaker), Renardel de Lavalette, K.Y. (speaker) & Steen, G.J. (speaker) (31-8-2017): Resistance to metaphor in British Public Bill Committee Debates, Metaphor Festival, Amsterdam, Netherlands.


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  • No ancillary activities

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