metaphorik.de 24/2013

Herausgeberteam – Editorial Staff – Équipe éditoriale
Anke Beger / Martin Döring / Olaf Jäkel / Katrin Mutz /
Dietmar Osthus / Claudia Polzin-Haumann / Judith Visser
ISSN 1618-2006 (Internet)
ISSN 1865-0716 (Print)

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Vorwort/Preface 24/2013

Redaktion

Deutsch (jump to English)

Wer sich mit Metaphern und Metonymen auseinandersetzt, ist gleich vor meh­rere Herausforderungen gestellt: Erstens sollte ein für die Fragestellung ange­messener Metaphern- bzw. Metonymiebegriff gewählt werden, zweitens gilt es, in der Identifikation und Klassifikation von Metaphern und Metonymien die angemessene Methode zu wählen, und drittens stehen Metaphern bzw. Metonymien natürlich nicht für sich, sondern müssen in ihrem jeweiligen in­haltlichen Kontext angemessen verstanden und funktional beschrieben wer­den. Die Wege und die Inhalte der Metaphernforschung sind dabei selbstver­ständlich nicht ein für alle Mal fixiert, sondern ändern sich sowohl mit dem Wandel von theoretischen und methodischen Prämissen als auch mit den wechselnden inhaltlichen Themen und Interessensgebieten, für deren Kontex­te die Bildlichkeit der Sprache analysiert wird.

metaphorik.de versucht seit 2001, unterschiedlichen theoretischen und metho­dischen Ansätze ein Forum zu bieten. Ebenso spiegelt sich in den publizierten Beiträgen die Vielfalt der Fragestellungen der zeitgenössischen Metaphernfor­schung. Gleichwohl ist die Trennung zwischen metapherntheoretischen Fra­gen und angewandter Metaphernforschung niemals ganz scharf, denn jede Theorie muss sich an ihren praktischen Erklärungsleistungen messen lassen, und keine angewandte Studie kann ohne die Erläuterung ihrer theoretischen und methodischen Prämissen auskommen.

Die hier vorliegende Ausgabe metaphorik.de 24 setzt diese Tradition fort, mit sowohl theoretisch-methodischen Überlegungen als auch angewandt-linguisti­schen Beispielstudien. Tina Krennmayr diskutiert in ihrem Beitrag Methoden der Metaphernidentifikation im Text. Sie greift damit ein Problem auf, mit dem letztlich jeder, der sich inhaltlich mit Metaphern auseinandersetzt, kon­frontiert ist: Lassen sich metaphorische Ausdrücke sinnvoll deduktiv – also ausgehend von vorgegebenen Konzepten – oder induktiv – ausgehend von den textuellen Verwendungen – erschließen und klassifizieren? Aus der Wahl des Identifikationsverfahrens ergeben sich durchaus unterschiedliche Ergeb­nisse, was eben nicht unerheblich ist. Vera Mundwiler untersucht Entwicklun­gen im Metapherngebrauch in der britischen Presseberichterstattung zur Schweinepest in den Jahren 2009 und 2010. In der sowohl quantitativ als auch qualitativ vorgehenden Studie wird der Blick u.a. auf die Funktion metaphori­scher Sprachverwendungen für pressetypische Dramatisierungen gerichtet. Laurent Nicaise wiederum zieht in seinem Beitrag, dessen Korpus aus Texten der niederländisch- und französischsprachigen belgischen Wirtschaftspresse besteht, eine Verbindung zwischen angewandter Metaphernforschung und gender studies. Verwenden männliche Autoren andere Metaphern als ihre weiblichen Kolleginnen? Dargestellt wird dies u.a. anhand des Konzepts BUSINESS IS WAR (WIRTSCHAFT IST KRIEG). Die in der letzten Ausgabe begonnene Reihe 15 Fragen über Metaphernforschung setzen wir fort mit dem von Richard Waltereit ausgefüllten Fragebogen.
 

Bedanken möchten wir uns sehr herzlich bei Alexandra Dominicus (Essen) für unschätzbare Hilfe beim Erstellen des Layouts, bei Bernd Backhaus (stylebites, Bochum) für technische Unterstützung bei der online-Publikation sowie bei Katja Flinzner (mehrsprachig-handeln.de, Bonn) für gelungene Übersetzungs­arbeit. Ihnen allen danken wir für das bleibende Interesse an metaphorik.de und wünschen ein ruhiges Jahresende 2013 und ein erfolgreiches neues Jahr 2014!
Bochum, Bremen, Essen, Flensburg, Hamburg und Saarbrücken im Dezember 2013

Anke Beger
Martin Döring
Olaf Jäkel
Katrin Mutz
Dietmar Osthus
Claudia Polzin-Haumann
Judith Visser

 


English

Studying metaphors and metonymy means facing several challenges at the same time: First, you need a metaphor and metonymy definition suitable to how you have framed your research. Second, you need to determine the most suitable method for the identification and classification of metaphor and metonymy. Third, metaphor and metonymy never occur in isolation; you need to arrive at a comprehension and functional description that is suited to the discourse context they are found in.

Of course, the methods and focus of metaphor research are not set in stone. They evolve as the theoretical and methodological framework develops and the subjects and areas of interest providing the context for the analysis of figurative language shift.

Since 2001, metaphorik.de has been committed to providing a platform for various theoretical and methodical approaches. The articles we publish are a further testament to the diversity of contemporary metaphor research. Still, the distinction between theoretical and applied metaphor research can never be clear-cut. Every theory needs to be judged by how well it is able to explain linguistic phenomena and no practical study can be conducted without describing its theoretical and methodological framework.

The current metaphorik.de issue, no. 24, continues the tradition, presenting articles on theory and methodology as well as applied linguistic sample studies. Tina Krennmayr’s article examines methods of metaphor identification within texts. She is referring to a problem no one who wants to undertake in-depth metaphor research can avoid:  

Does it make sense to determine and classify metaphorical expressions deductively, using given concepts? Or inductively, based on how they are used in texts? The method of identification you choose can lead to different results. No small matter, indeed.

Vera Mundwiler studied developments in how the British press employed metaphors when reporting on swine flu in 2009 and 2010. She used quantitative and qualitative methods in her study to examine the function of metaphorical language for dramatizing events as is typical for press discourse.


Laurent Nicaise connects applied metaphor research and gender studies in his article, which is based on a Belgian business paper corpus, covering publications in both French and Dutch. Do male authors make use of different metaphors than their female colleagues? One of the concepts he uses to illustrate his research is BUSINESS IS WAR. In our last issue, we began a series on metaphor research, which we are continuing with Richard Waltereit’s questionnaire. We would also like to thank Alexandra Dominicus (Essen) for her great help in designing the layout, Bernd Backhaus (stylebites, Bochum)  for technical support with online publishing and Katja Flinzner (mehrsprachig-handeln.de, Bonn) for multilingual support. Our thanks to all of you for your interest in metaphorik.de. We wish you Happy Holidays and all the best for a prosperous New Year.

Bochum, Bremen, Essen, Flensburg, Hamburg and Saarbrücken, in December 2013,

Anke Beger

Anke Beger
Martin Döring
Olaf Jäkel
Katrin Mutz
Dietmar Osthus
Claudia Polzin-Haumann
Judith Visser


 

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Top-down versus bottom-up approaches to the identification of metaphor in discourse

Tina Krennmayr

Abstract
 

To study metaphors in discourse they must first be identified. Metaphor identification and analysis are generally approached in a top-down fashion or in a bottom-up manner. In a top-down approach, texts are searched for linguistic metaphors based on predetermined conceptual metaphors, while in a bottom-up approach linguistic metaphors are identified before conceptual mappings are formulated. These two approaches involve very different analytical steps. This paper explicitly demonstrates how the two approaches can produce disparate outcomes, including differences in (1) how mappings are formulated and (2) what kinds of source and target concepts are determined to be part of the mapping. The processes involved in the two analytical routes are demonstrated via concrete examples in the context of the five-step method developed in Steen (1999, 2009).

Um Metaphern in Texten analysieren zu können, müssen sie zuerst identifiziert werden. Die Identifikation und Analyse von Metaphern geschieht im Allgemeinen entweder deduktiv oder induktiv. Bei einem deduktiven Ansatz werden Texte, basierend auf bereits bekannten konzeptuellen Metaphern, nach linguistischen Metaphern durchsucht. Ein induktiver Ansatz hingegen identifiziert linguistische Metaphern noch bevor konzeptuelle ‚mappings’ formuliert werden. Die beiden Herangehensweisen bringen sehr unterschiedliche analytische Schritte mit sich. Diese Arbeit demonstriert wie die zwei Ansätze zu unterschiedlichen Ergebnissen führen können. Die Unterschiede umfassen (1) wie ‚mappings’ formuliert und (2) welche Quellen- und Zielkonzepte als Teil des ‚mappings’ identifiziert werden. Die Prozesse, die bei den zwei analytischen Herangehensweisen eine Rolle spielen, werden mit Hilfe konkreter Beispiele im Kontext der „five-step method“ Steen (1999, 2009) erläutert.

 

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1 Introduction

The study of metaphor in natural discourse – e.g. describing its forms and functions, its underlying mappings, or its effects on information processing – has led to growing interest in their identification in text and talk. In order to create a solid basis for analysis, metaphor identification must be systematic and reliable. There are two major approaches to identifying metaphor in discourse. The first approach is “top down” metaphor identification, in which the researcher presumes the presence of a conceptual metaphor or metaphors and then searches for linguistic expressions that are compatible with it or them. The second approach is “bottom up”  – no specific conceptual metaphor is presumed, and only at a later stage are mappings derived from the linguistic expressions that have been identified as metaphorically used.


The goal of this paper is not to favor top-down or bottom-up approaches but to stress that they can and do produce different outcomes, and hence that analysts must be aware of the differences between them. To that end, I modify Steen’s (1999, 2009) five-step method for the identification of conceptual mappings. This method provides a step-by-step protocol for formulating mappings and determining source and target concepts involved in a mapping. Because of its explicit steps, the method is particularly suited to illustrating the differences between top-down and bottom-up approaches. These differences are generic to identification protocols, however, and are thus much broader in scope than the five-step method alone. I modify the five-step method to explicitly incorporate top-down and bottom-up analyses, so that the analyst may determine their different outcomes, both in terms of how conceptual mappings are described and in terms of their source and target concepts.

2 Background

Work within a cognitive linguistic framework tends to favor deductive approaches to metaphor identification and analysis (e.g. Chilton, 1996; Koller, 2004; Musolff, 2004). This means that the researcher starts out either from complete conceptual metaphors or from particular source or target domains. Deductive approaches are especially useful when patterns of a large number of linguistic expressions can flesh out additional details of the proposed underlying mapping. However, some researchers (e.g. Steen, 2007, p. 27) consider the (at least temporary) assumption of conceptual metaphors as a weakness of deductive approaches. (Low, 1999, p. 49) points out the risk: without reliable procedures for identifying conceptual and linguistic metaphor, researchers may over-identify expressions matching those metaphors they have recently been working on, while simultaneously under-identifying others. Similarly, if a conceptual metaphor is presumed, an analyst may tend to find exactly the kind of evidence he or she is looking for (Cameron, 2003, p. 252). For instance, if the analyst assumes the conceptual metaphor football is war, he or she may be (mis)led into identifying linguistic expressions as evidence of such a mapping without considering that those very same linguistic data could be manifestations of an alternative mapping. Ritchie (2003, p. 125) writes extensively about this problem. “When a word or phrase like ‘defend,’ ‘position,’ ‘maneuver,’ or ‘strategy’ is used, there is no a priori way to determine whether the intended underlying conceptual metaphor is an athletic contest or game of chess.”

This view goes against Lakoff and Johnson (1980), who have postulated single conceptual metaphors but neglected the fact that they can be interpreted in several different ways. The same is true of linguistic expressions: referring to research by Gentner and Bowdle (2001), Kövecses (1995) and Radman (1997), Ritchie (2003, p. 128) points out that “the evidence thus far is consistent with the idea that many everyday phrases represent overlapping interlocking systems of metaphor, affording many possible interpretations.” Vervaeke and Kennedy (1996) also stress that a metaphor on a linguistic level may be interpreted according to multiple underlying conceptual metaphors and is not necessarily a surface expression of a single cross-domain mapping.

It is crucial, though difficult, to hold metaphors on a linguistic level and on a conceptual level apart, because they are not equivalent. “(…) linguistic forms do not express everything there is to conceptual structure” (Steen, 2007, p. 175). The relationship between these two levels of conceptual metaphor and linguistic metaphor is complex and easily conflated. Cameron (2003) notes that “the terminological distinction is not always maintained (…)” (p. 19). These concerns suggest that there may be value in an alternative approach that does not start from the presumption of existing conceptual metaphors but instead works from the bottom up, deciding on underlying conceptual structures for each individual case (e.g. Cameron, 2003; Steen, 1999). Such an inductive approach does not deny the existence of conceptual metaphors. First identifying mappings locally, however, may prevent the analyst from assuming the most (subjectively) obvious mapping right away. Although it is tempting to think of global mappings consistent with the themes of a text, the actual mapping might not fit the scenario in every instance. Shen and Balaban (1999), for instance, have shown that a sample of opinion articles that did not deliberately employ metaphorical language contained many different conceptual metaphors, as opposed to being built around just a few. Research has also shown that metaphorical expressions may not always fit best with well-established conceptual metaphors (see Semino, 2008, p. 208ff).

3 Building from the bottom up

An example of a bottom-up procedure of metaphor identification is the five-step method proposed by Steen (1999, 2009). As an inductive approach, the five-step method formulates conceptual mappings only after linguistic metaphors have been identified. The five-step method starts out with identifying linguistic metaphors using the metaphor identification procedure ‘MIP’ (Pragglejaz Group, 2007) and then guides the analyst through a series of analytical steps to reveal the conceptual mappings behind the linguistic metaphor. The steps are detailed further below. The MIP procedure involves establishing a more basic sense of each lexical unit in a text and deciding whether this more basic sense can be compared to and contrasted with the contextual sense. Subsequently, the researcher determines whether the two senses can be understood in comparison with each other, and if so, the lexical unit is identified as metaphorically used. For example, low in ‘low interest rates’ has a more basic meaning, namely, physical height or distance. This more basic meaning and the contextual meaning, “small in amount or level,” can be understood in comparison with each other. Therefore, low, in this context, is metaphorically used. The MIP procedure merely identifies linguistic metaphors as surface expressions of possible underlying cross-domain mappings, i.e. a mapping from a source to a target domain. It does not automatically deliver conceptual mappings. For example, using MIP, it is easy to decide that defended in “I defended my thesis” is metaphorically used. Whether the conceptual structure underlying defended is based on the source domain of war, sports or a more general domain of physical violence is more difficult to nail down. The process of deriving underlying conceptual structures is not straightforward and demands its own methodological treatment. Keeping linguistic and conceptual metaphor identification separate adds rigor to the MIP method in that it restricts itself to dealing with comparing and contrasting meanings as defined in the dictionary (Steen, 2007).

A principal advantage of bottom-up analyses is that refraining from presuming conceptual metaphors, in spite of what is suggested by Lakoff and Johnson (1980), reduces the bias towards finding precisely those linguistic expressions that match the preconceived mapping. Employing MIP, a reliable procedure for identifying linguistic metaphor, prevents the researcher from seeing “(…) concrete manifestations of conceptual metaphors everywhere” (Steen, 2007, p. 27). In using MIP to find linguistic metaphor in discourse, metaphorically used words are seen as a basis from which to construct cross-domain mappings (e.g. Crisp, 2002, p. 7).

By applying tools such as MIP, linguistic metaphor identification has been systematized and controlled. The formulation of conceptual mappings is harder to constrain (Semino, Heywood, & Short, 2004), and has yet to be placed on an equally firm footing (Krennmayr, 2013). This is surprising insofar as the focus of conceptual metaphor theory clearly lies on the conceptual level. Conceptual metaphor theory claims that humans understand abstract domains through mappings from concrete domains derived from bodily experience: “Our ordinary conceptual system, in terms of which we both think and act, is fundamentally metaphorical in nature (…)” (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980, p. 3). Despite this focus on the conceptual nature of metaphors, it is unclear how Lakoff and Johnson (1980) formulate conceptual mappings. Their intuition-based work has been subject to criticism (e.g. Gibbs, 2006; Haser, 2005; Jackendoff & Aaron, 1991; Leezenberg, 2001; Murphy, 1996, 1997; Verwaeke & Green, 1997; Verwaeke & Kennedy, 1996). The Pragglejaz Group (2007) has emphasized the importance of systematic, transparent data collection that is not based on intuition but on an explicit protocol that allows testing for reliability of linguistic metaphor identification in natural discourse. It is equally important to approach the identification of conceptual mappings underlying linguistic expressions in a text in a transparent and systematic way.

Whether a bottom-up or a top-down approach to the identification of metaphors in discourse is most appropriate depends on the agenda of the researcher. For example, if researchers want to capture all metaphorical language in their data, rather than a specific selection of conceptual metaphors and their corresponding expressions, an inductive approach seems more appropriate. A deductive approach is prone to missing metaphors because the possibilities of describing and defining conceptual metaphors are infinite and lack clear boundaries.

While differences between top-down and bottom-up approaches have previously been noted in more general terms, I am aware of no prior attempt to clearly spell out and illustrate the consequences of using one approach versus the other using concrete examples from discourse. The following sections detail the differences between analytical processes involved in a deductive versus an inductive approach. In order to clarify these differences, I use an existing protocol, the five-step method (Steen 1999, 2009), that offers a systematic step-by-step approach to describing conceptual mappings and source and target concepts involved in a mapping. While my analysis is illustrated via this particular procedure, the findings have broader relevance and are not specific to the five-step protocol.

By introducing a novel adaptation to the five-step method, I demonstrate that researchers need to be sensitive to alternative options when formulating conceptual mappings – options that may be missed when taking a top-down approach. Moreover, analysts need to be mindful that inductive and deductive approaches may identify different source and target concepts in a mapping. To demonstrate this need for caution, I analyze the conceptual structure behind three metaphorically used expressions in a business news article – win, battle and defense, which may intuitively be attributed to the conceptual metaphor business is war. I will discuss both methodological issues and theoretical implications.

4 Top-down versus bottom-up analyses

The inductive five-step method (Steen 1999, 2009) was developed to bridge the gap between linguistic and conceptual metaphor. It aims to arrive at conceptual mappings by guiding the analyst from the identification of linguistic metaphors, as identified through the MIP procedure, to the formulation of conceptual mappings. Before highlighting differences between top-down and bottom-up analytical processes, I present a brief demonstration of the 2009 version of the framework using the title from Tennyson’s poem “Now sleeps the crimson petal,” by which the method has been demonstrated (see also Krennmayr, 2013):

 

Text: “Now sleeps the crimson petal”

Step 1 (identification of metaphor-related words):

           sleeps

 

Step 2 (identification of propositions): 

            P1 (sleeps petalt)

            P2 (mod p1 nowt)

            P3 (mod petalt crimsont)

 

Step 3 (identification of open comparison):

            SIM {$F, $a

            [F (crimson petal)]t

                        [sleep (a)]s}

 

Step 4 (identification of analogical structure):

            SIM

                        {[be-inactive (crimson petal)]t

                        [sleep (human)]s}

 

Step 5 (identification of cross-domain mapping):

            sleep > be-inactive

            human > crimson petal

Inferences:

            goal of sleep > goal of be-inactive

            time of sleep > time of be-inactive: night

 

In step one, metaphorically used words are identified using the MIP procedure. Sleeps has been identified as metaphorically used, because the contextual meaning of sleep can be understood in comparison with its more basic – human – sense. Steps two to five are designed to uncover the conceptual structure of sleeps. First, the poem’s heading is deconstructed into propositions (P1, P2, and P3), using roughly the same method that van Dijk and Kintsch (1983) applied for the creation of a text-base, and a variant proposed by Bovair and Kieras (1985). The subscript s marks source domain concepts, while t marks target domain concepts. Propositionalization is a way of capturing the conceptual structure of a text. The elements of the propositions stand for the concepts that may be activated through linguistic forms in the surface text (e.g. Bovair & Kieras, 1985; van Dijk & Kintsch, 1983). Kövecses (2002) points out that propositions make the metaphorical relations in a discourse explicit and help to prevent overlooking patterns of metaphor. “(…) the propositional level is needed when we want to describe metaphor in naturally occurring discourse” (p. 76). The third step creates a comparative structure between target domain elements and elements of the source domain according to a formula suggested in Miller (1993). Unknown target and source domain elements (step 3) are made explicit in step 4. Specifically, this means that the unknown concepts F and a of step three are filled with the target concept be-inactive and the source domain concept human. Step 5 arrives at a metaphorical mapping and a set of correspondences between target and source domain elements. (sleep is mapped onto be-inactive and human is mapped onto crimson petal).

The following sections demonstrate the fundamental difference between deductive and inductive approaches to metaphor identification. In order to show how analytical processes differ in a bottom-up versus a top-down approach, here I develop an adapted version of the five-step method. I also show that approaching metaphor from one or the other perspective may lead to different source-target mappings.

To illustrate the different outcomes of top-down and bottom-up approaches, I apply the five-step method to three semantically related metaphorically used words in a business news report from the BNC-Baby corpus excerpted below: winning, battle, and defense (italics and underlined). 

Container group Tiphook yesterday said that it was still confident of winning its joint £643 million bid for Sea Containers even though the battle has swung towards James Sherwood’s ferries-to-trailers combine. The offer from the Anglo-Swedish consortium formed by Tiphook and Stena AB is the subject of an appeal in the Bermudan courts which is aimed at overturning an earlier ruling allowing SeaCo to proceed with its ‘poison pill’ defence. (A8U-fragment14)

An analyst reading the excerpt may quickly conclude that the text is built around the conceptual metaphor business is war. Selecting a source domain at the onset of research (i.e. taking a top-down approach) is a practice followed by Koller (2004), for example. Her research was driven by the assumption that business media discourse is characterized by clusters of the “war metaphor.” Starting from the domains of war, sports and games, she drew up semantic fields for each of them using her corpus data as well as thesauruses and glossaries. While these tools may help to constrain the assignment process (Krennmayr, 2013; Semino et al., 2004), starting from specific conceptual domains may lead to unquestioned assignment of expressions to one category without considering its potential match with another. For example, Koller identified shoot as a linguistic metaphor corresponding to the domain of war. But it is ambiguous; it could also fit with sports. Koller’s research illustrates that top-down research on metaphor in discourse may not be ‘purely’ top-down, in the sense that the researcher looking at metaphor in discourse does not blindly select a conceptual metaphor or conceptual metaphors without looking at the text first. While “looking through the text” has the flavor of a bottom-up approach, I reserve the term bottom-up for cases where this process is undertaken as a systematic, vehicle-by-vehicle approach that does not presume any (pre-existing or new) conceptual mappings. In practice, a top-down approach is pointless if the analyst posits mappings that are clearly implausible; this is avoided by first reading the text before positing any mapping. Note that different analysts may still use different criteria to posit mappings, e.g. one may be inspired by a perceived theme of the text, while another may note the presence of clusters of linguistic metaphors that they suspect to align with one or several conceptual mappings. I still refer to such a scenario as top-down.

The question for the present newspaper excerpt is: Does the presence of the lexemes battle, winning and defence really mean that, for each of these items, the analyst can assign the mapping business is war? Analyzing the three metaphorically used lexemes in a bottom-up fashion will demonstrate that this is not the only plausible option. Moreover, my modified version of the five-step method, incorporating both deductive and inductive analysis, reveals further differences in source and target concepts formulated in each of the two approaches. This modification of the method makes it a useful tool in sharpening researcher’s awareness for alternative options.

Since my focus is on those words that are likely to be seen as evidence of the conceptual metaphor business is war, I will analyze only the words winning, battle and defence within the framework of the five-step method. All three words were identified as metaphorically used by the metaphor identification method MIP – step 1 of the five-step method (see Krennmayr, 2011). Each of the three lexical units will first be analyzed with a bottom-up approach and is followed by an analysis from a top-down perspective. Different outcomes between the two approaches will be highlighted.

4.1Bottom-up versus top-down analysis of winning

In the first sentence of the newspaper excerpt above, one company is trying to win a bid for the acquisition of another company. In step 1, winning was identified as metaphorically used. Step 2 of the five-step method (Table 1) breaks down the sentence into propositions in order to turn the surface text into a textbase consisting of concepts. S stands for ‘sentence,’ DU means ‘discourse unit’ and the propositions are labeled P. All concepts that belong to some source domain are underlined to signal that they are used indirectly and are labeled with the subscript s for ‘source domain.’

 

 

Table 1

Step 2: Identification of propositions

 

Text

Container group Tiphook yesterday said that it was still confident of winning its joint £643 million bid for Sea Containers even though the battle has swung towards James Sherwood’s ferries-to-trailers combine.

Step 2

Identifica­tion of propositions

S1        P1 (even-though du1 du2)

     DU1

            P1 (sayss tiphook p2)

            P2 (be tiphook confidents)

            P3 (time p1 yesterday)

            P4 (mod tiphook groups)

            P5 (mod groups container)

            P6 (mod confidents still)

            P7 (of confidents p8)

            P8 (wins tiphook bids)

            P9 (possess thipook bids)

            P10 (mod bidsjoints)

            P11 (mod bids million)

            P12 (mod million £634)

            P13 (for p8 containers)

            P14 (mod containers sea)

     DU2         

            P1 (swings battles)

            P2 (towardss p1 combine)

            P3 (possess sherwood combine)

            P4 (mod sherwood james)

            P5 (mod combine ferries-to-trailers)

   

 

4.1.1 Bottom-up analysis in the five-step method

In order to demonstrate how a modification to the method allows for explicit comparison of top-down and bottom-up approaches to metaphor in discourse, we first analyze the concept win in proposition P8 according to the five-step procedure as originally formulated by Steen (1999, 2000).[1] This proposition contains a second metaphor-related concept (bid). Besides a metonymic interpretation, a metaphorical one is possible as well. A bid is only something humans can make. In the present context an abstract entity, the company Tiphook, is making the bid, hence bid has been marked as metaphor-related. Since the present analysis focuses on the items winning, battle and defence only, other metaphorically used items such as, e.g. bid, are left aside. They would demand their own five-step analysis.

Step 3 (Table 2) turns the proposition P8 into an incomplete comparison between two propositions. It sets up a similarity relation (SIM) between some activity F and the entities Tiphook and bid in the target domain and the activity of winning and some yet-to-be-determined entities (x and y) in the source domain. This means that there is a similarity between some activity F in the target domain and win in the source domain, as well as between the entities Tiphook and bid in the target domain and some entities x and y in the source domain.

 

Table 2

Step 3: Identification of open comparison

 

Text

Container group Tiphook yesterday said that it was still confident of winning its joint £643 million bid for Sea Containers (…)

Step 3

Identification of open comparison

Derived from S1-DU1-P8: (wins tiphook bids)

SIM {$F, $x,y

(F     tiphook          bid)t

(win  x           y )s}

   

 

In step 4 (Table 3) the empty slots from step 3 are filled in. Unlike in Steen (1999, 2009), where this is done purely based on intuition, here the empty slots are filled using the Macmillan and Longman dictionaries as a tool. These dictionaries are also used to identify the metaphorically used words in step 1.[2] Slots F, x and y are filled based on the descriptions of win in the Macmillan and the Longman dictionaries, ‘to defeat everyone else by being the best or by finishing first in a competition’ and ‘to be the best or most successful in a competition, game, election etc.,’ respectively. The concept for slot F (succeed-in) in the target domain is derived from the description in Longman, ‘to be the best or most successful.’ The sense descriptions in both dictionaries refer primarily to humans, which is why slot x in the source domain frame is filled by someone. Win is general and not restricted to war. The sense description that mentions the war-related meaning – ‘to achieve victory in a war, battle, or argument’ (sense 1a) – is subsumed under the general sense, ‘to defeat everyone else by being the best or by finishing first in a competition.’ Thus the general sense description is taken as a basis for selecting the concept of competition for the open y slot.[3] The final two lines of step 4 represent an analogy between the source and the target domain. Their pairing demonstrates visually that the options for slot y in the source domain frame are not restricted to war. In order to allow for immediate recognition of which source concepts correspond to which target concepts, the formatting of steps 3 and 4 has been altered slightly from that in Steen (2009).

 

Table 3

Step 4: Identification of analogical structure

 

Text

Container group Tiphook yesterday said that it was still confident of winning its joint £643 million bid for Sea Containers (…)

Step 4

Identification of analogical structure

Derived from S1-DU1-P8: (wins tiphook bids)

SIM

(succeed-in                     tiphook      bid     )t=succeeding

(win            someone     competition)s=winning}

   

 

Step 4 additionally involves labeling the source and target domains[4]. The domain labels should be chosen in such a way that they best describe the frames of the target and the source domain. This is challenging. The issue at hand is whether to focus on the predicates (win and succeed-in) or the arguments (tiphook and someone and/or bid and competition), or to include both the predicates and the arguments (e.g. succeeding-in a bid and winning a competition). These issues are not peculiar to this specific example but are instead a general problem and are also addressed in Semino et al. (2004, p. 1281ff). This is one of the places where analyst intuition cannot completely be eliminated. What the analyst can do, however, is to be explicit about what decisions have been made and to be consistent in applying them. Since the primary interest in this example lies in the conceptual structure of winning, the domains are labeled with regard to the predicate.

The structure of the mapping in step 5 (Table 4) is derived from the domain labels in step four, leading to the general mapping succeeding is winning. Although we might have guessed this from the basic and contextual meanings, the framework of the five-step method has made it explicit.

 

Table 4

Step 5: Identification of cross-domain mapping

 

Text

Container group Tiphook yesterday said that it was still confident of winning its joint £643 million bid for Sea Containers (…)

Step 5

Identification of cross-domain mapping

Derived from S1-DU1-P8: (wins tiphook bids)

t                    s

succeed    ß         win

tiphook     ß         someone

bid          ß  competition

succeeding is winning

   

 

 

4.1.2 Modification of the five-step method

How can we transparently compare and assess the consequences of top-down and bottom-up approaches? Answering this question lies at the center of this article. Within the context of the five-step method, doing so requires breaking up step 4 into two substeps. The differences between top-down and bottom-up thinking begin to surface in step 4, where empty slots are filled and the source and the target domain are labeled. In a bottom-up approach, the analyst first fills the empty slots of the open comparison and only then derives the labels for the source and the target domain. A top-down approach takes the opposite route. A presumed mapping is formulated as an initial step. Therefore, the analyst first names the source and target domain and only then works out concepts involved in the mapping. In order to make these different thought processes explicit, I break up step 4 into step 4a and step 4b. Table 5 delineates the substeps in both a bottom-up approach (left) and a top-down approach (right).

Table 5

Different processes in bottom-up and top-down approaches

step

bottom-up approach

top-down approach

Step 4a

identification of concepts involved in the mapping

identification of source and target domain

Step 4b

identification of source and target domain

identification of concepts involved in the mapping

 

 

In order to demonstrate this further development of the five-step procedure, an adapted version of step four for a bottom-up analysis of winning is shown in Table 6. This is followed by a top-down analysis of winning, illustrated in Table 7.

 

Table 6

Adaptation of step four in the five-step method – bottom-up analysis of ‘winning’

 

Text

Container group Tiphook yesterday said that it was still confident of winning its joint £643 million bid (...)

Step 4a

Identification of concepts involved in the mapping

Derived from S1-DU1-P8: (wins tiphook bids)

SIM

(succeed-in                     tiphook       bid       )t

(       win      someone     competition)s }

Step 4b

Identification of source and target domain

Derived from S1-DU1-P8: (wins tiphook bids)

SIM

(succeed-in                      tiphook     bid                        )t=succeeding

(       win     someone      competition)s=winning }

   

 

By splitting step 4 into step 4a (identification of concepts involved in the mapping) and step 4b (identification of source and target domain), the thought processes in bottom-up approaches are made explicit. In step 4a the analyst finds appropriate source and target concepts to fill the open slots created in step 3, as has been detailed above. In the present example these are the concepts someone and competition in the source domain frame and succeed-in in the target domain frame. Only after the slots have been filled is the researcher concerned with formulating source and target domains that are representative of the analogy. This is step 4b, where the domains are labeled as winning (source domain) and succeeding (target domain).

In a top-down process (Table 7), step 4a and 4b are applied in the exact opposite order. The researcher starts out from the assumed conceptual metaphor business is war, which intuitively matches the metaphorically used lexemes win, defense, and battle. Therefore, the first step in filling in the open comparison is to name the domains, as detailed in step 4a. Derived from the conceptual metaphor, the target domain frame is labeled business and the source bracket is labeled war. Based on these domain labels, the analyst then fills in the open slots of step 3. In order to simulate a traditional top-down approach, slots could be filled purely based on intuition, guided by the presumed conceptual metaphor business is war. However, in order to ensure comparability with a bottom-up approach for which dictionaries were used as a tool to find mapped concepts, we also employ dictionaries for filling the slots in a top-down approach. Contrary to the inductive approach, now only entries that best reflect the presumed source domain and target domain, here war and business, are considered.

Table 7

Adaptation of five-step method – top-down analysis of ‘winning’

Text

Container group Tiphook yesterday said that it was still confident of winning its joint £643 million bid (...)

Step 3

Identification of open comparison

Derived from S1-DU1-P8: (wins tiphook bids)

SIM {$F, $x,y

(F    tiphook   bid )t

(win  x         y   )s }

Step 4a

Identification of source and target domain

Derived from S1-DU1-P8: (wins tiphook bids)

SIM

(F    tiphook   bid )t=business

(win    x        y   )s=war }

Step 4b

Identification of concepts involved in the mapping

Derived from S1-DU1-P8: (wins tiphook bids)

SIM

(succeed-in               tiphook             bid                      )t=business

(      win       country     war)s=war }

Step 5

Identification of cross-domain mapping

Derived from S1-DU1-P8: (wins tiphook bids)

t                       s

succeed       ß      win

tiphook        ß      country

bid          ß     war

business is war

 

 

Succeed-in is chosen to fill the open target domain slot, just as in the bottom-up analysis presented above. The dictionary entries for win in Macmillan contain a reference to war (‘to achieve victory in a war, battle, or argument’), which is why war is filled into the open source domain slot y. Since there is no reference to an agent, a check of the dictionary entry for war is helpful: ‘fighting between two or more countries that involves the use of armed forces and usually continues for a long time.’ Based on this sense description, the concept country is chosen for slot x as a match to the source domain war.

As can be seen from step 5, the source and target correspondences extracted in top-down and bottom-up approaches differ. While they are more general in an inductive approach (someone was mapped onto tiphook and competition onto bid), in a deductive approach they are specific to the concept of war (country is mapped onto tiphook and war onto bid).

4.2 Bottom-up versus top-down analysis of battle

The previous section analyzed the conceptual structure behind winning from both a top-down and a bottom-up perspective by introducing a modification to Steen’s five-step method. To further illustrate the new, modified method, we now apply the same analysis technique to battle in “the battle has swung towards James Sherwood’s ferries-to-trailers combine.” The metaphorical concept battle in propositions P1 and P2 (Table 1) of the second discourse unit is put through the five steps in the same way as winning in section 4.1.2. I first subject it to a bottom-up analysis, followed by a top-down analysis. As with the previous example, battle is not the only metaphorical concept in the proposition. The additional metaphorical concepts swing and towards would need their own five-step analysis. Since the present analysis focuses on the conceptual structure of battle, these other metaphorical concepts are left aside in order to keep the analysis as transparent as possible. I therefore posit the target domain equivalent change-in-favor-of for the source domain concepts swing and towards and focus on the analysis of battle as shown in Table 8. Step two has already been spelled out in Table 1, so Table 8 lists steps 3 to 5 only.

4.2.1 Bottom-up analysis of battle

Step 3 sets up an open comparison that is completed in step 4a.  The open slot y in step 4a is filled based on the sense descriptions for battle in Longman, ‘a fight between opposing armies, groups of ships, groups of people etc., especially one that is part of a larger war.’ The dictionary lists a range of specific entities. In such cases, I prescribe choosing a more general concept that encompasses the dictionary entries – in this case, opponent. The open target domain slot a is filled with the concept competition derived from the sense description in Macmillan, ‘a situation in which different people or groups compete with each other in order to achieve something or get an advantage.’

The domains need to be labeled before we can move on to step 5. Domain labeling is a challenging task. Cameron (2003, p. 252), Jackendoff and Aaron (1991, p. 324) and Vervaeke and Kennedy (1996, p. 276), for instance, note the difficulty of establishing the right level of generality. For Vervaeke and Kennedy (1996, p. 276), “any claim about a particular implicit metaphor is open to this charge – a slightly higher or lower level of generality can always be devised.” Littlemore and Low (2006, p. 13) note that “we can never be sure about our formulations [of mappings]. Essentially, we have to guess.” Though difficult, it is important to be transparent about how source and target domains are generated (see Low, 2003).

In order to show that the two domains involved may be labeled at different levels of abstraction, I present two options. The source and target domain labels (battle and competition) are derived from the first argument slot. The domain labeling on a higher level of abstraction is derived using the hypernym function of WordNet. The hypernym for competition in a business context is “business relation.” The hypernym for battle in its military sense is “military action.” Step 5 then formulates the full mapping – either as a competition is a battle or a business relation is military action. The choice of level at which the mapping is pitched is ultimately up to the analyst, but using tools such as Wordnet adds transparency to the process. Wordnet supports the analyst in finding the next level of abstraction and in formulating the mapping. For more on the systematic use of Wordnet in domain labeling see Krennmayr (2013).                                                                     

Table 8

Bottom-up analysis of ‘battle’ (steps 3-5)

Text

(…) even though the battle has swung towards James Sherwood’s ferries-to-trailers combine.

Step 3

Identification of open comparison

Derived from             S1-DU2-P1: (swingsbattles) and

                    S1-DU2-P2: (towardss p1 combine)

SIM {$a, $G, y

(change-in-favor-of  a          combine)t

(                G            battle      y     )s }

Step 4a

Identification of concepts involved in the mapping

 

 

 

Step 4b

Identification of source and target domain

 

Derived from             S1-DU2-P1: (swingsbattles) and

                    S1-DU2-P2: (towardss p1 combine)

SIM

(change-in-favor-of  competition       combine )t

(change-in-favor-of            battle                              opponent)s}

 

Derived from             S1-DU2-P1: (swingsbattles) and

                    S1-DU2-P2: (towardss p1 combine)

SIM

(change-in-favor-of  competition       combine )t= competition >

                                                                                              business relation

(change-in-favor-of            battle                              opponent)s= battle >military action }

 

Step 5

Identification of cross-domain mapping

Derived from             S1-DU2-P1: (swingsbattles) and

                    S1-DU2-P2: (towardss p1 combine)

t                                             s

change-in-favor-of   ß        change-in-favor-of

competition                    ß        battle

combine                 ß        opponent

a competition is a battle

 

 

To summarize, the bottom-up analysis of battle, in contrast to the bottom-up analysis of win above, does lead to a mapping that is in line with the well-known conceptual metaphor business is war. Both the conceptual mapping and the domain labels can be formulated at different levels of abstraction (e.g. battle versus military action). Depending on which level the analyst chooses he or she will arrive at either the mappings a business relation is military action or a competition is a battle. Regardless of what level an analyst chooses, WordNet helps him or her to navigate through different levels of abstraction and constrains the options.

4.2.2 Top-down analysis of battle

The bottom-up analysis of battle performed in the previous section has arrived at a mapping in line with the business is war metaphor. In order to check whether a top-down analysis of battle also yields the same source and target concepts as in the bottom-up approach, it is now subjected to a deductive analysis (Table 9). As in the top-down analysis of winning, the domains are labeled first (business and war) based on the conceptual metaphor business is war (step 4a). Based on these labels, the open slots from step 3 are filled in step 4b. Competition is chosen as a target domain equivalent of battle. The open argument slot of the source domain bracket is filled with the concept opposing army, based on the sense description of battle – ‘a fight between opposing armies, groups of ships, groups of people etc, especially one that is part of a larger war’ – from Longman.

The conceptual mapping business is war is closely related to the mapping found in a bottom-up analysis of battle (competition is a battle). However, the concepts involved in the mapping are not quite the same. The inductive approach suggests a mapping from opponent to combine (James Sherwood’s ferries-to-trailers combine), which is compatible with a war source domain but not necessarily prototypical. The deductive approach aligns the concepts combine and opposing army. The latter is more directly connected to a war domain than the concept opponent.

The systematic analysis via the modified version of the five-step method makes these differences explicit and makes the researcher aware of plausible options he or she needs to consider. Opposing the two approaches within one methodological framework is thus a useful tool to the analyst.

Table 9

Top-down analysis of ‘battle’

 

Text

(…) even though the battle has swung towards James Sherwood’s ferries-to-trailers combine.

Step 3

Identification of comparison

Derived from             S1-DU2-P1: (swingsbattles) and

                    S1-DU2-P2: (towardss p1 combine)

SIM {$G, $a,y

(change-in-favor-of        a    combine)t

(              G             battle    y    )s }

Step 4a

Identification of source and target domain

Derived from             S1-DU2-P1: (swingsbattles) and

                    S1-DU2-P2: (towardss p1 combine)

SIM

(change-in-favor-of        a    combine)t=business

(              G            battle         y     )s=war }

Step 4b

Identification of concepts involved in the mapping

Derived from             S1-DU2-P1: (swingsbattles) and

                    S1-DU2-P2: (towardss p1 combine)

SIM

(change-in-favor-of  competition  combine)t=business

(change-in-favor-of     battle  opposing army)s=war }

Step 5

Identification of cross-domain mapping

Derived from             S1-DU2-P1: (swingsbattles) and

                    S1-DU2-P2: (towardss p1 combine)

t                                    s

change-in-favor-of   ß        change-in-favor-of

competition    ß   battle

combine             ß   opposing army

business is war

   

4.3 Bottom-up versus top-down analysis of defence

An inductive approach to the analysis of winning suggests multiple plausible formulations of the underlying mapping, which are different from the presumed metaphor business is war in a top-down approach. Differences in the formulation of source and target concepts have also been revealed. While the conceptual mapping behind the linguistic metaphor battle was formulated similarly in both approaches, the concepts that are part of that mapping differed. The two analyses already suggest that caution is in order when describing conceptual metaphors and mapped concepts that underlie metaphorically used expressions that are part of an extended mapping. To underscore the generality of our finding, we now look at the third semantically related metaphorical expression in the news text, namely defence, which is part of the second sentence (S2) of the business report.

The offer from the Anglo-Swedish consortium formed by Tiphook and Stena AB is the subject of an appeal in the Bermudan courts which is aimed at overturning an earlier ruling allowing SeaCo to proceed with its ‘poison pill’ defence.

 

As with the metaphorically used words in the previous analysis, defence is analyzed from both a bottom-up and a top-down perspective. The analyses proceed in a manner identical to the two lexical items above. In lieu of reporting details of the analysis, we simply state the results.

In a bottom-up analysis, the target domain side of the comparison comprises the concepts continue, seaco and prevent-acquisition. The source domain frame yields the concepts continue, someone/something and defence. Depending on the desired level of abstraction, the mapping is formulated as prevent-acquisition is defence, hindrance is protection or hindrance is physical conflict. Thus, the bottom-up analysis of defence suggests a mapping more general than business is war, the mapping that an analyst taking the top-down route would likely start out with.

Whether or not the source and target concepts involved in the mapping also differ, can be checked by putting defence through the five-step method in a top-down fashion. Similar to the other two analyzed lexemes, the concepts that are part of the cross-domain mapping are not quite the same in the two analytical procedures. Using the top-down approach, the source concept country is mapped onto seaco. This contrasts with the results for the bottom-up approach, which suggests a more general concept (someone/something). In addition, the bottom-up procedure suggests a more general source domain than war, namely physical conflict. This reflects a conceptual mapping that encompasses physical conflict more generally.

  1. Discussion

Identifying and describing linguistic metaphor and its underlying mappings in discourse can be approached with deductive and inductive methods. One approach is not inherently better than the other; the appropriate choice depends on the research question or the kind of data under analysis. However, regardless of which approach is chosen, the analyst needs to be aware of the consequences of selecting one approach and not the other. I have made this explicit by opposing deductive and inductive thought processes through a modification to the five-step method (Steen 1999, 2009). This adaptation allows the analyst to look critically at the data and his or her analysis.

Applying the method to three semantically related lexical units has demonstrated the need for careful, conscientious analysis. My analysis has revealed that deductive and inductive thinking can lead to different outcomes. Results differ, first, in terms of the conceptual mappings they suggest and, second, in terms of the concepts involved on the source domain and the target domain side of the analogy. Table 10 provides a comparative overview of the results for cross-domain mappings.

Textfeld: Table 10
Cross-domain mappings for bottom-up versus top-down approaches for ‘winning,’ ‘battle,’ and ‘defence’
lexeme	bottom-up	top-down
winning	T	S
SUCCEED	ß	WIN
TIPHOOK	ß	SOMEONE
BID	ß	COMPETITION

SUCCEEDING IS WINNING

	T	S
SUCCEED	ß	WIN
TIPHOOK	ß	COUNTRY
BID	ß	WAR

BUSINESS IS WAR

battle	T		S
CHANGE-IN-	ß	CHANGE-IN-
FAVOR-OF	 	FAVOR-OF	
COMPETITION	ß	BATTLE
COMBINE	ß 	OPPONENT

A COMPETITION IS A BATTLE
	T		S
CHANGE-IN-	ß	CHANGE-IN-
FAVOR-OF		FAVOR-OF
COMPETITION	ß	BATTLE
COMBINE	ß 	OPPOSING ARMY

BUSINESS IS WAR

defence	T		S
CONTINUE	ß	CONTINUE
SEACO	ß	SO./STH.
PREVENT- 	ß	DEFENCE
ACQUISITION

PREVENT-ACQUISITION IS DEFENCE	T		S
CONTINUE	ß	CONTINUE
SEACO	ß	COUNTRY
PREVENT-	ß	DEFENCE
ACQUISITION

BUSINESS IS WAR

 

Approaching the analyses step-by-step has demonstrated that when matching linguistic expressions and conceptual mappings, caution is in order. A set of linguistic evidence that intuitively belongs to the exact same mapping can be interpreted in several different ways. There may be more than one plausible source or target concept and different ways of formulating cross-domain mappings.

These insights fully agree with Semino’s (2005) corpus study of aggression-related metaphors for communication in news reports (e.g. “firing questions,” “The chancellor also defended his stand (…),” “M Delors attacked M Balladur’s idea” etc. (p. 51)). Based on her findings she argues for a more general conceptual metaphor antagonistic communication is physical aggression instead of an argument is war mapping. The source domain of physical conflict and aggression for her corpus examples ranged from “fisticuffs through armed attack to full-blown war” (Semino, 2008, p. 210). The present five-step analysis suggests that the same is true for expressions that have been cited as evidence for a business is war metaphor. Words like winning or defence may be best explained in terms of physical violence generally. Their underlying conceptual structure is thus also better captured by a more general physical conflict source domain. This is an important theoretical implication of the present analysis: bottom-up approaches may yield descriptions of mappings that are not necessarily identical to those conceptual metaphors proposed in the cognitive linguistic literature (see also Cameron, 2003).

The modified five-step method helps the analyst to develop awareness of the challenges involved in determining what kind of concepts are mapped onto which target concepts and how the complete mapping may be formulated. Such a fine-grained view of linguistic data may be overlooked when particular conceptual metaphors that seem to intuitively fit a number of metaphorical expressions in the text are assumed a priori.

This has important consequences for experimental research, for instance studying the effects of metaphors on readers of a text. For example, while win in the present example frames the text in terms of competition, battle frames it as war. It may be that the passage achieves its effects by blending these different realms of experience. Such subtlety would be missed by a top-down approach. Research suggests that processing of metaphorical expressions by the language user may not completely correspond to the overall patterns of meanings described by conceptual metaphor theory (e.g., Gentner & Bowdle, 2001; Keysar, Shen, Glucksberg, & Horton, 2000). Another implication for metaphor comprehension research, therefore, is the matter of ambiguous metaphor – metaphors that can be and often are understood by different hearers or readers in terms of entirely different vehicles with distinct underlying conceptual metaphors (Ritchie, 2006; Ritchie & Dyhouse, 2008). For example, Ritchie notes that ‘toe the line’ may sometimes be written and understood as ‘tow the line’. These realize different conceptual metaphors that come with different entailments (passive versus active compliance) and are thus interpreted in different ways. Top-down analysis is unlikely to deal adequately with such issues.  It tends to pay insufficient attention to alternative explanations (Steen, 2007) and may be too crude for looking at specific instances in context. A bottom-up analysis, therefore, promises to be particularly useful for assisting the design of experimental material for testing metaphor processing, metaphor comprehension, or metaphor appreciation. Inductive approaches are also useful for research that attempts to describe all metaphors in discourse, regardless of what kind of conceptual metaphors they may manifest, and to uncover the conceptual structure behind linguistic metaphors in (stretches of) text. A top-down method is less adequate for such an endeavor because there is no exhaustive list of well-defined conceptual metaphors (Steen, Dorst, Herrmann, Kaal, & Krennmayr, 2010).

Of course, deductive approaches have their own merits. They may be particularly useful if the goal is to flesh out additional details of proposed underlying mappings by examining patterns in a large number of linguistic expressions (e.g., Charteris-Black, 2004; Deignan, 2005). A top-down approach may also be superior for working with very large amounts of data, since a bottom-up vehicle-by-vehicle approach is practically limited in scale.

In more general terms, this analysis shows that metaphor identification needs to be based less on intuition and more on an explicit procedure that helps control the process of formulating conceptual mappings and determining concepts that are involved in the mapping. The discussion presented here has broader relevance beyond the five-step method because, independent of the metaphor identification method used, any research on metaphor in discourse must make choices regarding top-down and bottom-up methodologies and must confront the consequences of these choices.

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[1]              The bottom-up analyses in this paper have also been described in Krennmayr (2013).

[2]                                                                                         Corpus-based dictionaries have been shown to be a valuable tool for the identification of linguistic metaphor (step one of the five-step procedure) (see Steen et al., 2010). A dictionary does not automatically provide the analyst with information about whether or not a word is metaphorically used in a given context. It is still the analyst who compares and contrasts basic and contextual meanings and makes decisions about a word’s metaphoricity. However, by relying on independent reference tools, the analyst’s identification process is supported with carefully compiled data and allows other researchers to check and replicate the analyst’s decisions. Two established procedures MIP (Pragglejaz Group, 2007) and MIPVU (Steen et al., 2010) rely heavily on the use of dictionaries in linguistic metaphor identification. Both methods have been subjected to reliability tests and have proven to be reliable protocols for identifying linguistic metaphor in discourse.

                                                                                          When identifying linguistic metaphors, the analyst compares a word’s contextual and basic meanings as listed in a dictionary. Besides linguistic information, dictionaries also capture conceptual knowledge, since they make explicit both the concepts involved in a word’s meaning and the manner in which they are related. The analyst identifying metaphor at the conceptual level can harvest this information in order to construct mappings between source and target domain structures. Different dictionaries may have somewhat different sense descriptions and may thus at times offer differing concepts for filling in open slots of the analogy. Provided that the researcher is aware of the restrictions the use of a dictionary imposes, this should not be regarded as a weakness. Instead, the dictionary can be regarded as an independent norm of reference. Just as with the identification of metaphor on a linguistic level, the identification of conceptual mappings can be placed on a firmer footing by relying on reference tools. While they cannot completely eradicate intuition, they restrict the options for determining concepts and make the process more explicit and transparent.

[3]              Whether the empty slots are filled based on Longman, Macmillan or a combination thereof, is decided on a case-by-case basis. The choice depends largely on which of the dictionaries has been used for the identification of metaphor at the linguistic level and the level of generality at which the analyst decided to describe the concepts.

[4]              This is a novel addition to the original five-step procedure. It has been developed in a collaborative effort with Dorst, A.G., Herrmann, J.B, Kaal, A.A., Pasma, T., Steen, G.J.

 

CATCH IT, BIN IT, KILL IT - On the metaphorical conceptualisation of the 2009 swine flu pandemic in British media texts

Vera Mundwiler

Basel (vera.mundwiler@unibas.ch)

Abstract

This paper investigates the use of conceptual metaphors in a corpus of news texts on swine
flu, published in the British Sunday press between April 2009 and February 2010. All
metaphors were systematically identified and categorised in a two-step method, which
involved a linguistic and a conceptual analysis. In line with Conceptual Metaphor Theory,
well-established conceptual metaphors are used to encode a new and rapidly spreading
disease, the nature and effects of which were unknown in the earliest phases of its outbreak.
The quantitative analysis shows a strong decrease in metaphor frequency over time. The
qualitative results suggest that the early conceptualisation of the pandemic was structured
by metaphors such as A VIRUS IS A KILLER and DISEASE IS AN OBJECT/A POSSESSION, which
focus on the virus as a threat and on individuals who are affected. I will show how both
metaphors contribute to a more sensationalist reporting, the media scare.


Dieser Artikel untersucht konzeptuelle Metaphern in einem Korpus von Zeitungsartikeln
zum Thema Schweinegrippe, die im Zeitraum von April 2009 bis Februar 2010 in der
britischen Sonntagspresse veröffentlicht wurden. Alle Metaphern wurden systematisch nach
sprachlicher und konzeptueller Analyse ermittelt und kategorisiert. Wie die konzeptuelle
Metapherntheorie erwarten lässt, wird eine neue, sich rasch verbreitende Krankheit, deren
Art und Ausmaß zu Beginn des Ausbruchs noch unbekannt waren, durch bestimmte
konventionelle konzeptuelle Metaphern beschrieben. In der quantitativen Analyse zeigt sich,
dass die Frequenz von Metaphern über die Zeit deutlich abnimmt. Die qualitativen Resultate
deuten darauf hin, dass die Pandemie besonders zu Beginn durch Metaphern wie EIN VIRUS
IST EIN KILLER und KRANKHEIT IST EIN OBJEKT/EIN BESITZ, konzeptualisiert wurde. Es soll hier
gezeigt werden, wie diese Metaphern, die das Virus als Gefahr porträtieren sowie Betroffene
in den Fokus nehmen, zu einer sensationsorientierten Presse und Panikmache beitragen.

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CATCH IT, BIN IT, KILL IT’
On the metaphorical conceptualisation of the 2009 swine flu pandemic in British media texts
1

Vera Mundwiler, Basel (vera.mundwiler@unibas.ch)

Abstract

This paper investigates the use of conceptual metaphors in a corpus of news texts on swine flu, published in the British Sunday press between April 2009 and February 2010. All metaphors were systematically identified and categorised in a two-step method, which involved a linguistic and a conceptual analysis. In line with Conceptual Metaphor Theory, well-established conceptual metaphors are used to encode a new and rapidly spreading disease, the nature and effects of which were unknown in the earliest phases of its outbreak. The quantitative analysis shows a strong decrease in metaphor frequency over time. The qualitative results suggest that the early conceptualisation of the pandemic was structured by metaphors such as a virus is a killer and disease is an object/a possession, which focus on the virus as a threat and on individuals who are affected. I will show how both metaphors contribute to a more sensationalist reporting, the media scare.

Dieser Artikel untersucht konzeptuelle Metaphern in einem Korpus von Zeitungsartikeln zum Thema Schweinegrippe, die im Zeitraum von April 2009 bis Februar 2010 in der britischen Sonntagspresse veröffentlicht wurden. Alle Metaphern wurden systematisch nach sprachlicher und konzeptueller Analyse ermittelt und kategorisiert. Wie die konzeptuelle Metapherntheorie erwarten lässt, wird eine neue, sich rasch verbreitende Krankheit, deren Art und Ausmaß zu Beginn des Ausbruchs noch unbekannt waren, durch bestimmte konventionelle konzeptuelle Metaphern beschrieben. In der quantitativen Analyse zeigt sich, dass die Frequenz von Metaphern über die Zeit deutlich abnimmt. Die qualitativen Resultate deuten darauf hin, dass die Pandemie besonders zu Beginn durch Metaphern wie ein virus ist ein killer und krankheit ist ein objekt/ein Besitz, konzeptualisiert wurde. Es soll hier gezeigt werden, wie diese Metaphern, die das Virus als Gefahr porträtieren sowie Betroffene in den Fokus nehmen, zu einer sensationsorientierten Presse und Panikmache beitragen.

1 Introduction

1.1 “CATCH IT, BIN IT, KILL IT”

In late April 2009, a new topic appeared in the news: swine flu, the killer virus. The fear of a potentially dangerous pandemic flu2, mostly referred to as swine flu3, soon became an important topic in the international press. The phrase CATCH IT, BIN IT, KILL IT (Department of Health (UK) 2009) became part of a national campaign against the spread of the pandemic 2009 in the UK. Since a virus cannot be a killer, nor is it an object you could simply catch and bin, and even less so is it possible for people to kill the virus, this suggests that the swine flu disease was metaphorically conceptualised in persuasive ways.

This study focuses on metaphorical conceptualisations in language when talking about pandemic diseases such as swine flu in 2009. First, I am interested in all the metaphors used in the domain of illness and disease. As a second step, the data will be addressed with regard to the variation of conceptual metaphors at two points in time, that is, during the outbreak and the decline of the disease. The aim is to test how variation in language is used to reach certain goals. At the beginning of the reporting on swine flu, the topic was very dominant; this did not remain during the whole period but quickly decreased culminating in the reporting suddenly stopping completely – even though there were still worldwide cases. On the one hand, this is due to non-linguistic, factual circumstances of a disease such as swine flu, in that the information on the emergence of a highly contagious virus is frightening per se; and this usually provokes media attention, no matter what language is used. But on the other hand, the question is whether the choice of language does indeed matter and if so, in what degree metaphoricity is used to enforce scare stories. It is believed that if metaphorical language were able to add to the scare effect, then metaphors would need to be even more frequently represented at the beginning of the outbreak than towards the end.

The decline of the reporting is interesting because it happened very quickly and while there were still many people infected and also dying from the disease4. The question is: How did the discourse of swine flu change towards the end of the pandemic in terms of conceptualisations? Can conceptual metaphors be partly responsible for scare that usually starts with the outbreak of a disease and can it also give reasons for the disappearance of such a scare?

1.2 Theoretical Background

Following Conceptual Metaphor Theory (CMT, Lakoff/Johnson 1980), conceptual metaphor is understood as systematic mappings between two domains of experience, whereas the target domain (a) is typically abstract and the source domain (b) typically concrete (Lakoff 1993: 245; Semino 2008: 6). The metaphorical expressions, or linguistic metaphors, are linguistic realisations of these conceptual mappings. CMT states that metaphor is defined by indirect meaning since we understand something in terms of something else and metaphorically used words are believed to have a more basic meaning in their source domain, which is now indirectly used in the target domain (Steen 2007: 66f.). Even if there is no “inherent similarity” (Lakoff/Johnson 1980: 113) two domains of experience are compared to each other, which means that linguistic metaphor is based on “indirectness-by-similarity” (Steen 2009: 32).

For the analysis this means that the study is aimed at finding indirectly used language that creates similarity between a source domain and the target domain of pandemic disease.

1.3 The discourse of illness and desease

In their early work, Lakoff/Johnson (1980) have presented a few examples of metaphorical expressions from the domain of illness, which mainly included orientational up/down conceptualisations and personification metaphors. However, these were very few examples, which were not based on extensive studies and therefore, were not representative of the domain of illness. Lakoff and Johnson have often been criticised for being unsystematic with their choice of examples (e.g. Deignan 2005: 27). Since it is impossible to rely on one’s own intuition about language, corpora and natural discourse should be used to give evidence of conceptual metaphors (e.g. Deignan 2005: 76; Semino 2008: 1). Therefore, this study is based on real language data.

In the meantime, there have been many studies in the field of illness (e.g. van Rijn-van Tongeren 1997; Fleischman 2001; Gwyn 2002; Semino 2008) and epidemic diseases such as foot and mouth disease (e.g. Stibbe 2001; Nerlich et al. 2002), SARS (e.g. Washer 2004; Wallis/Nerlich 2005; Chiang/Duann 2007), MRSA (e.g. Nerlich/Koteyko 2009) and avian flu (e.g. Nerlich/Halliday 2007; Koteyko et al. 2008, Martin de la Rosa 2008) that have enriched the theory, based on natural language.

One of the conceptual metaphors found in all the studies, sometimes called slightly differently, is the disease is war metaphor. Yet, Wallis/Nerlich (2005) point out that in the reporting of SARS in the UK, the war metaphor was not the most prominently used metaphor but was rather replaced by a more specialised metaphor sars is a killer. According to the authors, one possible explanation could be the lacking need for immediate action since the disease was no threat to the UK (Wallis/Nerlich 2005: 2637). In contrast, Chiang/Duann (2007: 587f.) identify sars is war as the most dominantly used metaphor in Taiwanese and Chinese newspapers. This illustrates the importance of considering the point of view of the researcher. The war metaphor has shown especially effective in the reporting of foot and mouth disease when the public in the UK had to be persuaded to take action such as culling healthy animals (Stibbe 2001; Nerlich et al. 2002).

There are other metaphors commonly used in the discourse of diseases such as the concept of disaster, found in the SARS discourse (Chiang/Duann 2007), the journey metaphor, discussed in studies of avian flu (Koteyko et al. 2008; Martin de la Rosa 2008) and the aspect of cleanliness as a weapon belonging to the war metaphor, as investigated in the study of MRSA (Nerlich/Koteyko 2009).

The results of these studies will be considered in the analysis in order to assure validity and significance of the conceptual metaphors identified. In addition to giving a general account of metaphors used when talking about illness and disease, the aim of this paper is to go beyond the descriptive level and analyse the development of metaphors over time. Swine flu appeared to be conceptualised differently in the early and the late period of the reporting. The impression is that at the beginning, the choice of metaphors helped to spread the scare story whereas towards the end of the reporting swine flu was more often referred to by literal terms. This will be investigated in the study by analysing the reporting at the beginning of the outbreak and the decline of published articles towards the end. The results aim at giving answers to the question about the influence of conceptual metaphors in relation to media scare stories in the context of swine flu pandemic.

1.4 Methods

In the last few years, there have been many publications addressing the question of methodology in the analysis of metaphor, which reflects the interest in the topic and the need for a formalised procedure (e.g. Barcelona 2002; Charteris-Black 2004; Musolff 2004; Deignan 2005; Pragglejaz Group 2007; Steen 2007; Semino 2008; Steen et al. 2010;). The problem is twofold: First, a method is needed to identify the metaphorical expressions in a text, which can be called “linguistic analysis”; and second, the conceptual domains have to be identified and analysed for the linguistic metaphors, therefore called “conceptual analysis” (Steen 2007: 90f.).

My linguistic analysis is based on the Metaphor Identification Procedure (MIP) developed by the Pragglejaz Group (2007) and the revised and extended MIPVU5 (Steen et al. 2010). The MIP has been developed as a research tool for other scholars (Pragglejaz Group 2007: 36) and therefore, very detailed guidelines are given for each step of the analysis, as is presented in the following:

1. Read the entire text/discourse to establish a general understanding of the meaning.

2. Determine the lexical units in the text/discourse

3. (a) For each lexical unit in the text, establish its meaning in context, that is, how it applies to an entity, relation, or attribute in the situation evoked by the text (contextual meaning). Take into account what comes before and after the lexical unit.

(b) For each lexical unit, determine if it has a more basic contemporary meaning in other contexts than the one in the given context. For our purposes, basic meanings tend to be

  • More concrete [what they evoke is easier to imagine, see, hear, feel, smell, and taste];

  • Related to bodily action;

  • More precise (as opposed to vague);

  • Historically older;

Basic meanings are not necessarily the most frequent meanings of the lexical unit.

(c) If the lexical unit has a more basic current/contemporary meaning in other contexts than the given context, decide whether the contextual meaning contrasts with the basic meaning but can be understood in comparison with it.

4. If yes, mark the lexical unit as metaphorical.

(Pragglejaz Group 2007: 3)

The MIP asks for a 4-step-analysis of each lexical unit. Since the aim of this study is to identify metaphorical expressions from the target domain of disease (i.e. pandemic, illness, medicine, vaccine, etc.), the method has been slightly adapted. Instead of analysing every single lexical unit, only those relevant for the domain of disease were analysed. For the definitions of basic meanings the online version of the corpus-based contemporary Macmillan English Dictionary (MM) was used.

After having applied the MIP, the metaphorical expressions identified have to be analysed regarding conceptual mappings involved. Barcelona (2002: 247) has developed a methodological procedure, which was reformulated as a 5-step analysis for my conceptual analysis:

1) Study the results obtained at step 3 a) of the MIP and establish cross-domain mappings by using a formula of the kind TARGET DOMAIN (A) IS SOURCE DOMAIN (B).

2) Consult the relevant literature to back up with further evidence the domain mappings established at step 1.

3) Once step 1 and 2 have been followed for the whole corpus under investigation, arrange clusters of conceptual metaphors that belong to the same basic-level metaphors; that is, group the conceptual metaphors according to hierarchy.

4) Observe whether the conceptual metaphors identified have entailments and describe what these entailments are.

5) Look at the results in their context and interpret if and how the conceptual metaphors highlight or hide certain aspects.

The first step acknowledges the fact that the domain mappings are already identified when applying the MIP and only need to be reformulated as a is b mappings, as proposed in CMT. At step 2), a link is set between the study and other studies in the same field. This is important, especially for conventional metaphors because it is advisable not to propose new a is b formulas in each study but rather take and, where needed, redefine the same conceptual metaphors in order to create a continuum. Deignan criticises the tendency of some researchers to “propose new conceptual metaphors using limited linguistic evidence” (2005: 105). This can be prevented by referring to the literature at step 2), or to ensure for enough instantiations of linguistic metaphors that justify the proposition of a new conceptual metaphor, which is part of step 3). At this step, all the results are grouped and put into hierarchical order. It is also studied whether there are more fundamental or basic conceptual metaphors that are higher in hierarchy and of which the conceptual metaphors are just one of many instantiations. At step 4), the domain mappings identified are studied for their entailments and at step 5), for their ideological impact in context. Only steps 1) and 2) deal with the conceptual metaphors as isolated instantiations; from 3) onwards, the domains identified are analysed more closely and interpreted on a more global level when they are set into relation to each other.

While the MIP method accounts for the identification of metaphorically used words, the conceptual analysis sets the basis for the overall interpretation of the conceptual metaphors. The combination of these two methods of the linguistic and conceptual analysis is believed to allow for a reliable and logical analysis.

1.5 Data

The analysis draws on 51 news texts taken from three subcorpora (A, B, C), which were selected from a corpus consisting of 267 news texts on swine flu, published between April 2009 and February 2010 in the six Sunday editions of British broadsheet and tabloid newspapers with highest circulation. The three Sunday broadsheets were The Sunday Times (TST), The Sunday Telegraph (TSTG) and The Observer (TO); the three Sunday tabloids were The Mail on Sunday (TMOS), Sunday Mirror (SM) and News of the World (NOTW) (all the texts were accessed from LexisNexis 2010).


 

 

Figure 1 Corpus details: Number of articles per month (total of 267 articles)

 

Figure 1 shows when most of the articles were published. The first articles in the selected national Sunday newspapers were published on 26 April 2009. There was a visible increase of media interest in May 2009, when the level was not yet raised to that of a pandemic disease (see WHO 2009). The number of published articles peaked in July 2009, with a total of 84 articles across the six publication types. After an increase of articles in July 2009, there was a very clear decrease of published articles on swine flu in September 2009, which corresponds to the raise and decline of cases and swine flu-related deaths in Britain in those months (see Donaldson et al. 2009). However, even though the virus was highly active in October and November 2009 and the pandemic reached a second height, this was not reflected in the media and the number of articles only showed a slight increase. The topic seemed to have lost the media’s interest after the first intensive period in summer 2009. An explanation for that could be the missing newsworthiness, because everyone was now familiar with the topic. In December 2009, January 2010 and February 2010 there was again a decline in publications on swine flu.

While the corpus helps to get an overview of the development of media interest, it contains too much language data to be handled in this linguistic and conceptual metaphor analysis. Therefore, only a selection of 51 news texts was subject to the analysis in this study.

To address the question of conceptualisations in the discourse of swine flu, a general subcorpus (A) was created with evenly distributed news texts from all publication types. This subcorpus consists of 18 articles, published in April/May 2009, July 2009 and October/November 2009 and, with a total of 16,066 words, adds up to 10% of the whole corpus.

Another two subcorpora (B and C) were defined from the corpus presented above. First, all the articles from December 2009 to February 2010 were singled out for an analysis of the reporting during the decline of the disease. This amounted to 5.5% of the corpus and formed subcorpus C. Another subcorpus from the beginning of the outbreak was then size-matched with subcorpus C. This subcorpus B contains data from late April until the end of May 2009, which represents the early reporting during the first increase of publications. Subcorpora B and C will be compared with each other to find tendencies of shifting metaphorical conceptualisations during the outbreak and the decline of the disease.

2 Results and Discussion

2.1 Conceptual Metaphors in a general subcorpus

The analysis of the general subcorpus A results in a total of 222 metaphorical expressions in the domain of disease and medicine, deriving from six conventionally used conceptual metaphors. Table 1 lists the domain mappings and the number of linguistic realisations.

 

 

Table 1 Conceptual metaphors and number of metaphorical expressions in subcorpus A

 

CONCEPTUAL METAPHORS

Hierarchically grouped into general and more specific domains

Number of linguistic instantiations of each conceptual metaphor

April / May 09

July 09

Oct / Nov 09

Total

DISEASE IS PHYSICAL AGGRESSION

A VIRUS IS A KILLER / AN ATTACKER

STOPPING A DISEASE IS FIGHTING (A WAR)

DRUGS AND VACCINES ARE PROTECTORS

GIVING MEDICATION IS PHYSICAL AGGRESSION

THE IMMUNE SYSTEM IS A DEFENCE

31

23

4

4

-

-

7

3

4

-

-

-

53

4

16

21

11

1

91

PEOPLE ARE CONTAINERS

AFFECTING MANY PEOPLE WITH A DISEASE IS COVERING A CONTAINER / SURFACE

AFFECTING MANY PEOPLE IS CLEANING A SURFACE

AFFECTING MANY PEOPLE IS HOLDING THEM

THE IMMUNE SYSTEM IS A CONTAINER

25

 

22

1

2

-

8

 

3

3

2

-

9

 

6

-

1

2

42

DISEASE IS AN OBJECT

DISEASE IS AN OBJECT / A POSSESSION

STOPPING THE VIRUS IS PUTTING IT INTO A CONTAINER

18

17

1

4

4

-

10

5

5

32

A VIRUS IS A LIVING ORGANISM

(HUMAN BEING / ANIMAL / PLANT)

16

6

7

29

HEALTH IS UP / ILLNESS IS DOWN

9

-

4

13

DISEASE IS A (NATURAL) DISASTER

-

4

3

7

OTHER (various less conventional domain mappings)

1

4

3

8

Total of metaphorical expressions in the domains identified:

100

33

89

222

 

In this paper, only the most frequently used metaphors will be discussed in more detail6.

2.1.1 DISEASE IS PHYSICAL AGGRESSION

As illustrated in Table 1, the conceptual mapping disease is physical aggression is the most dominantly used mapping in subcorpus A. This domain mapping is the general conceptual metaphor for a number of more specific conceptual metaphors. It has been repeatedly suggested that physical aggression should be used instead of war, a domain often discussed in the literature (e.g. Charteris-Black 2004: 69ff.; Semino 2008: 210). The conceptual metaphors and metaphorical expressions in Table 2 demonstrate nicely why the war domain is too narrow as a category.

 

 

Table 2 disease is physical aggression and its corresponding metaphorical expressions

 

Conceptual metaphor Metaphorical expressions

 

disease is physical aggression

a virus is a killer / an attacker killer (6x), to kill (5x), victim (11x), to launch (1x), to claim (2x), to strike (1x), to attack (1x), attack (2x), to hit (1x)

stopping a disease is fighting (a war) fight (1x), to fight (1x), to lose (1x), battle (1x), offensive (1x), campaign (3x), to marshal (1x), lieutenant (1x), conquest (1x), foe (1x), to defeat (1x), to kill (1x), challenge (3x), mercy (1x), to protect (2x), protective (1x), aggressively (1x), front (1x), vulnerable (1x)

drugs and vaccines are protectors to combat (3x), fight (1x), to protect (3x), protection (5x), defence (1x), target (1x), to target (1x), strangle (1x), resistant (3x), resistance (1x), to kill (1x), strong (1x), weak (1x), robust (1x), to cover (1x)

giving medication is physical

aggression jab (7x), shot (4x)

the immune system is a defence defence (1x)

 

 

All the words identified have to do with physical aggression, be it related to fighting in a war, involvement in a struggle or simply hitting. The domain of war is therefore just one part of a broader domain. It could be argued that war accounts for a separate conceptual metaphor. However, words such as to fight or to lose would pose quite some difficulty on the part of the analyst when it comes to the decision on how to categorise them. The most basic senses do not solely draw on the war domain but rather on the experience of personal physical struggles. Therefore, war as well as killer and other struggle metaphors were grouped under the same conceptual metaphor, namely disease is physical aggression.

For example, the verb to kill appears in several conceptual metaphors belonging to disease is physical aggression, but could not be categorised as belonging to the war domain in all cases. Examples (1) to (3) show how the focus is slightly different in each of these cases.


 

(1) Additionally, at least eight students at a New York high school were last night believed to have a form of human swine flu, but authorities are not certain if it is the same strain that has killed people in Mexico. (TO 26/04/2009)

(2) There was one big potential problem: neuraminidase exists not only in the flu virus but also in human cells which function normally; any drug had to be sufficiently strong to kill flu, but sufficiently weak to leave human neuraminidase unaffected. (TO 25/10/2009)

(3) The print advertisement and hand-delivered leaflets advising us to use more tissues and then throw them away had a slightly patronising air and an unfortunate tagline - “Catch it! Bin It! Kill It!” - which half-suggested we were being advised to catch swine flu. (TO 25/10/2009)


 

Example (1) has been categorised as an instantiation of the conceptual metaphor a virus is a killer, which significantly differs from the war domain in that it involves one single criminal as opposed to a military army (Wallis/Nerlich 2005: 2634). Of course, there are overlaps, too. Wallis/Nerlich (2005: 2634), in their study on SARS, argued that both concepts make use of the force metaphor and consequently exploit similar vocabulary. The context needs to be closely examined in order to see where the focus lies and whether this implies a war or a killer conceptualisation.

Example (2) takes a different focus while the drug is personified and tries to kill the virus, this being a metaphorical expression of the conceptual metaphor drugs and vaccines are protectors. Again, the conceptualisation of medication as a protector or even killer in this case does not primarily draw on the war domain. And finally, example (3) comments on the governmental campaign against the spread of swine flu with the slogan “Catch it! Bin It! Kill It!”, which suggests that the people addressed in this campaign have to fight against the virus by following certain rules. This could be seen as part of the war domain since it is implied that everyone has to fight the same fight, as some sort of an army in a war. The conceptual metaphor identified is stopping a disease is fighting (a war), and war is put in brackets because it is still not the only domain it alludes to.

When we analyse the entailments of the metaphors more closely, we find a consistent schema along the following lines: An attacker or killer attacks people who then take measures to defend themselves. This can either be achieved by attacking back or through the use of defences such as their body (the immune system) or drugs and vaccines to protect them. Since these vaccines are part of the weapons, they involve physical aggression towards the ones to be protected when given jabs and shots. The physical aggression is therefore present on all the fronts: The virus as a killer attacks, the people who become infected fight back, their body protects them and the vaccines first appear to be physical harm to the patients but once taken they can fight back the virus. Thinking about the aspect of highlighting and hiding of metaphors (Lakoff/Johnson 1980: 10), the physical aggression metaphors clearly emphasise the need of action on the part of the potential patients. The attacking virus is presented as a threat to the nation and therefore needs to be stopped by any means; or in other words:

The power of the military metaphor lies in its ability to arouse people into a state of fear and preventive activity, to mobilise against an emergency. (Gwyn 2002: 110)

Using such strong metaphors in a situation such as a pandemic can therefore be very helpful and persuasive. The slogan “Catch it! Bin it! Kill it!” quoted in (3) clearly draws on the physical aggression domain. This phrase suggests that everyone can help to stop the attacker by killing it, which, of course, literally means that everyone should wash their hands regularly. It implies that everyone is partly responsible. This again played a role when mass vaccination programmes were communicated to the public in November 2009. As can be seen in Table 1, the physical aggression metaphors are heavily exploited in October and November 2009, which can now easily be explained: As discussed above, these metaphors were needed to mobilise the masses to go take vaccination. Again, these metaphors stress the aspect of responsibility and implicitly culpability in the case of failure.

2.1.2 People are containers

In the scientific literature on CMT, the container metaphor has been introduced as one of the most basic conceptualisations because it makes use of the concept of the human body:

Each of us is a container, with a bounding surface and an in-out orientation. We project our own in-out orientation onto other physical objects that are bounded by surfaces. (Lakoff/Johnson 1980: 29)

As a consequence of this basic experience of being bounded by a surface, the conceptual metaphor people are containers can be seen as a general formulation of the container mapping7. Table 3 shows the domain mappings that can be understood as container metaphors.

Table 3 people are containers and its corresponding metaphorical expressions

 

Conceptual metaphor Metaphorical expressions

 

people are containers

affecting many people with a disease to spread (20x), spread (9x), widespread (2x)

is covering a container / surface

affecting many people is holding them to take hold (2x), grip (1x), to reach (2x)

affecting many people is cleaning to sweep (3x), wipeout (1x)

a surface

the immune system is a container to overload (2x)

 

Metaphorical expressions like to spread are analysed as instantiations of the metaphor people are containers, which is backed up by findings of another study: Wallis/Nerlich (2005: 2636) explain that in other illness discourses the container mapping usually affected individual people, whereas in their study on SARS, it appeared to be extended over a larger physical space such as cities, regions and countries. This was also observed in the analysis of the swine flu discourse and especially significant in the use of the words to spread, spread and widespread. The basic meaning identified for to spread is, according to Macmillan dictionary, “to open something that is folded so that it covers a surface” (MM). On the basis of that, the conceptual metaphor affecting many people with a disease is covering a container/a surface has been identified to describe the mapping of the metaphorically used words to spread, spread and widespread in the context of illness, as in example (4):

(4) A BRITISH Airways crewman was in hospital last night with symptoms of the killer swine flu virus feared to be spreading around the world. (SM 26/04/2009)

In this case, there are not only individuals covered by the disease but masses of people that make up cities, regions, countries or even the whole world. Since the larger the area the more abstract it becomes, the container metaphor helps to address it in a more concrete way. At the same time it is very generalising and neglects the effect it has on the individuals. By highlighting the virus as affecting masses of people and not just individuals, the container metaphor implies that the disease can affect anyone and therefore, again, immediate action is needed.

The cleaning metaphor has also been categorised as a submapping of the container metaphor and its complex implications are demonstrated using the following examples:

(5) A flu epidemic sweeps the UK (TMOS 26/07/2009)

(6) 5,000 MAY DIE; HSE chiefs fear wipeout from swine flu virus (NOTW 26/07/2009)

Example (5) gives a typical context for the expression to sweep in the sense of an epidemic that spreads quickly. The mapping is similar to the one of to spread except that here the containers are covered with water. In example (6), again, cleaning is seen as infecting or even killing people. In the literature, the expression wipeout and to wipe out have often been addressed differently and categorised as an instantiation of the war domain (e.g. Lakoff/Johnson 1980: 4). Steen (2007: 140) and Williams Camus (2009: 479f.) argue that to wipe out draws on both domains because in the war discourse, to wipe out is euphemistically used for to kill which consequently leads to the confusion of the two domains. In the discourse of disease, both domains are used, which is why it does not lead to any inconsistency. The entailments of this complex mapping are as follows. The expression to wipe out means to get rid of dirt, which implies that a disease is dirty and that people with a disease are consequently dirty, too. Therefore, to wipe out in the context where a disease wipes out a nation, for example, this means to get rid of a whole nation, which, in other words, can also be used as to kill a nation. This shows that the link of the domains disease, cleaning and war is not arbitrary at all but rather shows systematic correspondences.

2.1.3 Disease is an Object

Since a virus is an abstract entity, there appears to be a tendency to describe it as something else, be it a killer, a person, an animal, a plant or an object. All these conceptualisations have one thing in common; namely that the source domain is more concrete than the target domain. This makes the abstract virus more easily understandable. Table 4 illustrates what metaphorical expressions of the conceptual mapping disease is an object are used in the context of swine flu.


 

Table 4 disease is an object and its corresponding metaphorical expressions

 

Conceptual metaphor Metaphorical expressions

 

disease is an object

disease is an object / a possession to catch (6x), to get (4x), to pick (2x), to pass (5x), to carry (1x), to have / to have got (7x), to circulate (1x)

stopping the virus is putting it to bin (2x), containment (2x), to contain (2x)

into a container

 

The metaphor disease is an object/a possession entails those expressions that show how potential illness sufferers can catch flu, or get ill, pass the disease on to others or simply have a disease. Some of these expressions conceptualise the potential illness sufferer as an active person who can influence whether he picks up a disease or whether he does not want to catch it, as is exemplified in (7).

(7) She picked up the illness on a recent trip to Mexico. (NOTW 03/05/2009)

It almost seems as if there was a choice and, as a consequence, it was somebody’s own fault if she or he got infected. It has been argued that disease is a possession suggests some sort of culpability on the part of the victim (Wallis/Nerlich 2005: 2635), which, however, is not always the case. For example, to catch the flu certainly implies an active person who is responsible for his infection, but if someone gets ill, the patient is a passive recipient of the disease. Also in the case of expressions like the disease strikes us, the patient is seen as an innocent, passive victim who has no control over the disease (Fleischman 1999: 10). The assumption of an active person needs to be treated carefully and can easily be changed – depending on the verb – to a blaming the victim strategy.

In example (8) it is shown very clearly how the possession metaphor implies that having the virus makes someone a threat to others. This relates to Wallis/Nerlich (2005: 2635) who introduced the metaphor disease is a possession in their study on SARS, in which they claimed that this metaphor was used to point to the existence of danger, therefore stigmatising the illness sufferers. And since swine flu was highly contagious, people with flu were very likely to be seen as carriers of danger. This is also why, at the beginning of the outbreak, people were put under quarantine, which must be seen in the context of containment, as in example (9).

(8) “The worst thing is that you don’t know who has this virus. Maybe your neighbour has got it. Maybe the guy in the corner shop or the restaurant has it,” said Gisela Hernandez, a 34-year-old housewife. (TSTG 26/04/2009)

(9) “We always knew that we could not contain or prevent the spread indefinitely,” Nicholson wrote, “and that is why today ministers across the UK have agreed that it is time to move from containment into the treatment phase.” (TO 25/10/2009)

Example (9) shows how containing the objectified virus was the main strategy to prevent the spread at the beginning of the outbreak. It was categorised as an instantiation of the metaphor stopping the virus is putting it into a container.

CATCH IT, BIN IT, KILL IT”, the government’s slogan referred to earlier (see Department of Health (UK) 2009 and news texts), makes use of the metaphor disease is an object in quite an innovative way. While to catch the flu is a conventional way of saying to become infected with flu, this is not exactly what is meant in the context of the slogan. There it is suggested that tissues should be used to catch the virus when sneezing. Therefore, to catch draws on its literal sense, but since you cannot catch a virus literally without making sense of the virus as an object, it is nonetheless metaphorically used. And it certainly plays with the implications of both, the literal and the metaphorical meaning. Bin it in the second part of the slogan is an instantiation of stopping the virus is putting it into a container. It is implied here that the virus is an object which can simply be put into a container to control it. The last part, kill it, suggests that the act of stopping the disease involves physical aggression and therefore being an instantiation of stopping a disease is fighting (a war). But in the context, it literally refers to the suggestion that everybody should wash his or her hands regularly. This is a very interesting link because, as has been claimed above in the discussion of examples (5) and (6) (see 2.1.2), the cleaning metaphor plays an important role in the war domain and to wipe out, for example, takes on a conventional indirect meaning of to kill in the war domain (Steen 2007: 140). This means that the slogan exploits the various implications of linking the cleaning and the war domain. The pronoun it in all three phrases refers to the virus or, more generally, to swine flu. This example shows how a number of metaphors can persuasively be combined in one sentence although they draw on different source domains. Since the slogan was advertised nationwide, it was also discussed in the media and is therefore part of the corpus, as seen in example (3) (see 2.1.2).

2.2 Conceptual metaphors in the news during the spread and decline of the pandemic

During the outbreak of swine flu, this topic newly appeared in the media and was therefore treated differently than towards the end, when swine flu seemed to disappear. Because of the persuasive aspect of metaphors, the hypothesis is that there must be significantly more metaphorical expressions in the early phase of the disease as opposed to the end, when there was no longer much interest in the topic.

2.2.1 Metaphors during the outbreak of the disease

The analysis of subcorpus B presented in Table 5 results in a total of 111 metaphorical expressions from six different source domains, all being the same as the six most prominent metaphors in subcorpus A. Since these six conceptual metaphors identified are represented in subcorpus A and B, they can be interpreted as conventional metaphors in the swine flu discourse.


 

 

Table 5 Conceptual metaphors and number of metaphorical expressions in subcorpus B

CONCEPTUAL METAPHORS

Hierarchically grouped into general and more specific domains

Number of linguistic instantiations of each conceptual metaphor

April – May 2009

DISEASE IS PHYSICAL AGGRESSION

A VIRUS IS A KILLER / AN ATTACKER

STOPPING A DISEASE IS FIGHTING (A WAR)

DRUGS AND VACCINES ARE PROTECTORS

GIVING MEDICATION IS PHYSICAL AGGRESSION

THE IMMUNE SYSTEM IS A DEFENCE

49

24

12

10

1

2

PEOPLE ARE CONTAINERS

AFFECTING MANY PEOPLE WITH A DISEASE IS COVERING A CONTAINER / A SURFACE

AFFECTING MANY PEOPLE IS CLEANING A SURFACE

AFFECTING MANY PEOPLE IS HOLDING THEM

10

 

7

2

1

DISEASE IS AN OBJECT / A POSSESSION

22

A VIRUS IS A LIVING ORGANISM

(HUMAN BEING / ANIMAL / PLANT)

19

HEALTH IS UP / ILLNESS IS DOWN

5

DISEASE IS A (NATURAL) DISASTER

6

Total of metaphorical expressions in the domains identified:

111


 

While there are the same conceptual metaphors at play, they are not all equally important. disease is physical aggression is the most dominantly used metaphor in both subcorpora. But then, disease is an object/a possession and a virus is a living organism (human being/animal/plant) are used considerably more often than people are containers, which is the second most frequently used metaphor in subcorpus A. As in subcorpus A, the submapping a virus is a killer/an attacker is the most important conceptual metaphor, with a total of 24 metaphorical expressions. In subcorpus A, it was also significantly more often used in the first phase (April/May 2009), with 23 metaphorical expressions, as opposed to only 7 metaphorical expressions in the second and third phase under investigation (July and October/November 2009). This result emphasises the fact that swine flu was strongly conceptualised as a killer or an attacker at the beginning of the outbreak when the disease was still unknown.

As for the conceptual metaphor people are containers metaphors, there are some differences between the results from subcorpus A and B. The submapping affecting many people with a disease is covering a container/a surface is very dominantly used in subcorpus A with 31 mentions of which 22 appear at the beginning of the disease. The metaphorical expressions belonging to that mapping are to spread, spread and widespread. In subcorpus B, however, there are only 7 instances of that mapping, which suggests that there is considerable variation among different articles. The other two mappings, affecting many people is cleaning a surface and affecting many people is holding them, are not much represented in subcorpus B and there are no instantiations of the immune system is a container. All in all, the container metaphor is not extensively used in the early phase of the outbreak of swine flu.

With 22 instantiations, the possession metaphor is widely represented in subcorpus B but does not show any different metaphorical expressions compared with the ones discussed in regard to subcorpus A.

2.2.2 Metaphors during the decline of the disease

The analysis of subcorpus C results in 62 metaphorical expressions, drawing on six source domains to be analysed (see table 6). Again, the six conceptual metaphors are identical with the ones identified in subcorpus B and, as has been argued in that context, can be taken as conventionally used metaphors in the target domain of swine flu.


 

Table 6 Conceptual metaphors and number of metaphorical expressions in subcorpus C

CONCEPTUAL METAPHORS

Hierarchically grouped into general and more specific domains

Number of linguistic instantiations of each conceptual metaphor

Dec 2009 – Feb 2010

DISEASE IS PHYSICAL AGGRESSION

A VIRUS IS A KILLER / AN ATTACKER

STOPPING A DISEASE IS FIGHTING (A WAR)

DRUGS AND VACCINES ARE PROTECTORS

GIVING MEDICATION IS PHYSICAL AGGRESSION

THE IMMUNE SYSTEM IS A DEFENCE

38

7

12

1

16

2

PEOPLE ARE CONTAINERS

AFFECTING MANY PEOPLE WITH A DISEASE IS COVERING A CONTAINER / SURFACE

AFFECTING MANY PEOPLE IS CLEANING A SURFACE

5

 

3

2

DISEASE IS AN OBJECT / A POSSESSION

3

A VIRUS IS A LIVING ORGANISM

(HUMAN BEING / ANIMAL / PLANT)

5

HEALTH IS UP / ILLNESS IS DOWN

1

DISEASE IS A (NATURAL) DISASTER

10

Total of metaphorical expressions in the domains identified:

62


 

Compared with subcorpus B, which accounts for 111 metaphorical expressions, there is a significant decrease of the number of metaphorical instantiations. As in subcorpora A and B, subcorpus C has also the most instances in the domain of physical aggression. However, there are some changes with regard to the most dominant submapping, which, in subcorpora A and B is the killer metaphor, whereas in subcorpus C it is the conceptualisation of medication as physical aggression with 16 out of 38 expressions. This reinforces the argument that the killer metaphor is important for the conceptualisation of the unknown threat at the beginning of a disease, whereas the discourse of medication only started in autumn when mass vaccination programmes were introduced by the government.

The second most dominant metaphor is the disaster metaphor, which accounts for fewer instantiations in the early phase of the disease. This is surprising because it is believed to be a metaphor with strong implications, similar to the physical aggression one, namely that situations of disasters usually mobilise and call for action. For that reason, disaster metaphors would have been expected to appear more often in the early phase instead of the late phase of a disease. However, the disaster metaphor is mainly represented by the metaphorically used expression wave, which is a very conventional term used to describe “a sudden increase in a particular type of behaviour or activity, especially one that is unpleasant or not welcome” (MM). As such, wave has a conventionally used metaphorical meaning that also finds use in target domains other than disease. This means that its implications are not very strong because it does not apply to the disease domain only. The conceptual metaphor people are containers does not have any new metaphorical expressions and the same goes for disease is an object/a possession and health is up/illness is down.

2.2.3 Early versus late reporting

The fact that the analysis of subcorpora B and C results in the same six conceptual metaphors as the analysis of subcorpus A suggests that even when including more data, there is not significantly different material that would lead to completely different results. There are, however, substantial differences in the quantitative use of metaphorical expressions during the outbreak and the decline of the disease: In the early reporting there are 111 metaphorical expressions identified as opposed to only 62 metaphorically used words in the late reporting. In general, the more frequent use of metaphors at the beginning of the disease can be interpreted as the need for compensating the unknown threat imposed by the swine flu virus. The abstract and unknown disease is understood in terms of something else, or rather several other things, as is suggested by the analysis. In the late phase, however, not much compensation is needed since all the parties involved are well-known by then: The virus has been researched and is therefore better known than before and there are vaccines that have been developed by pharmaceutical companies. The government who advises everyone to get vaccinated is repeatedly criticised for mismanagement but mostly in rather literal terms; the ones criticised are known and therefore concrete and not abstract. So it seems that in the late phase of the reporting not much metaphorical language was needed because either the scenery has metaphorically been set or facts, by then well-known, could be described in literal language.

At first sight, the results from the physical aggression metaphor are surprising, because in the late phase there are still 38 instantiations as opposed to 49 during the outbreak of the disease. This shows how conventionally used that metaphor actually is. But the difference was expected to be more significant because of the metaphor’s persuasive implications, which were expected to appear a lot more frequently at the beginning of the disease. However, there are changes regarding the use of subdomain mappings. During the outbreak of the swine flu disease, a virus is a killer/an attacker has 24 instantiations, but only 7 during the decline of the disease. This reinforces what has been suggested earlier, namely that the killer concept is most effective at the beginning of an unknown threat because it combines several conceptualisations: Since the virus is abstract, the personification as a killer helps to understand the concept8. Furthermore, it is persuasive in that a killer poses an immediate threat and therefore, such a conceptualisation makes people react to it according to governmental suggestions. The metaphor stopping a disease is fighting (a war) is used 12 times both at the beginning and towards the end of the swine flu reporting and suggests that fighting a disease has become a very conventional metaphor with fewer implications. As such, it is used equally at different stages of a disease with no intentions on the part of the language user. The conceptualisation of giving medication as physical aggression has 16 instantiations in the late phase of the reporting as opposed to only 1 expression at the beginning. This is no surprise because the discourse of vaccination, etc. only started later in the reporting. Therefore, the difference of the physical aggression metaphor first does not seem to be significant, but the consideration of the submappings shows how the killer metaphor is mainly used at the beginning while medication-related metaphors appear later in the reporting.

The metaphor people are containers is used 10 times in subcorpus B and only 5 times in subcorpus C and therefore shows how the metaphorical use of spreading is more important at the beginning of the outbreak. Conceptualising the threat of the contagious disease as a virus covering people and cities helps to understand the unknown disease.

There is a predominant use of the possession metaphor at the beginning of the disease with 22 instantiations during the early phase and only 3 instantiations in the late reporting. This shows how the focus on the individual patient during the outbreak shifts to a more general focus on a whole nation. That goes in line with the metaphor health is up/illness is down, which is more frequently used at the beginning because it also shows a focus on the individual patient. This focus on individuals can be understood as potentially sensationalist because pointing to those who are ill at the same time highlight those who supposedly are a threat to others.

The comparison between the use of metaphors during the early and the late reporting shows that the metaphorical system is exploited in such a way that people can be persuaded of the risk of contagion in the early phase of an epidemic by the amount and choice of metaphorically used language in the news reporting. However, there is a certain stock of metaphor present during the whole period of the reporting, which suggests that metaphors are a basic ingredient of our conceptual system and that some of them are conventionally used in the discourse of a disease such as the swine flu pandemic.

3 Conclusion

The analysis has resulted in six conventionally used domain mappings and has demonstrated that conceptual metaphors are used throughout all reporting of swine flu and in all publication types, which supports the theory that the language used to report about epidemics is metaphorically structured. However, there are significant differences as to how many and which instances are found at the beginning and towards the end of the reporting. Considerably more metaphorical expressions were identified during the outbreak of the disease. In the two size-matched subcorpora, B and C, there were 111 metaphorically used words in the former, which represents the early reporting, and only 62 metaphorically used words in the latter, which represents the late reporting on swine flu. The quantitative difference in metaphorical language has been explained by the need to conceptualise an abstract, unknown disease, which was the case during the early period of reporting. During the outbreak, the killer metaphor was very dominantly used with 24 instantiations whereas it only had 7 instantiations during the decline. It has been argued that, at the beginning of the disease, the unknown threat was preferably personified as a killer because of its explanatory and persuasive implications. Later in subcorpus C, there was no further need to conceptualise the virus as something else because it was mostly researched and known by then. There were still quite a few instantiations from the disease is physical aggression metaphor in the late phase, but those were mostly medication-related.

The analysis of the news coverage on swine flu shows how a pandemic disease is metaphorically framed. By using a deliberate choice of words, panic and fear were described and implied in the articles, while contrarily to these metaphorically structured narratives, swine flu did not appear to be such a big deal in real life. It is believed that metaphors can contribute to scare stories and, as suggested earlier, especially the use of metaphors from the physical aggression domain can provoke a willingness of the public to take action, such as following hygiene instructions or getting medication and vaccines.

However, linguistic aspects such as metaphorical language cannot be taken as the only means that influence the public. Additional, non-linguistic features, such as scare statistics, comparisons to past diseases and a deliberate choice of images could be studied to complete the analysis of a media event. This paper approaches the topic from a purely linguistic and conceptual perspective to test the importance of metaphors in the context of a public issue such as swine flu.

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1

This paper is based on parts of my MA thesis at the University of Basel (2010), which was supervised by Prof. Dr. Heike Behrens and Prof. Dr. Miriam Locher. Some of the contents in this paper have been presented at the conference Researching and Applying Metaphor (RaAM) 9 in Lancaster (UK), 4-7 July 2012 with the title Swine flu scare: The metaphorical conceptualisation of a pandemic disease in media language. I am grateful for feedback received from anonymous reviewers as well as feedback for my MA thesis and my paper presentation in Lancaster.

2

Epidemic diseases are characterised by an increase in infected people over a certain time and once they spread to the rest of the world, they can be classified as pandemic diseases (Potter 2001: 572ff.). It was on 11 June 2009, that Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization, officially declared influenza pandemic alert phase 6, which is when a disease is called a pandemic and therefore needs worldwide measures (see WHO 2009: situation updates).

3

The World Health Organisation (WHO) published their first press release on swine flu on 24 April 2009, naming it “Influenza-like illness”, which at that time affected Mexico and the US only. In their following updates on swine flu, WHO named the disease “swine flu illness”, “swine influenza” and from 29 April 2009 onwards “Influenza A (H1N1)” until they finally changed the name to “Pandemic (H1N1) 2009” on 1 July 2009 (see WHO 2009: situation updates). However, in the media the disease was mostly referred to as swine flu.

4

According to WHO (2010), the swine flu virus can be compared to seasonal influenza viruses in terms of infection (transmitted from person to person) and symptoms. The difference is that pandemic H1N1 was a new virus and due to the lack of immunity, the death rate was relatively high.

5

MIP stands for ‘Metaphor Identification Procedure’ and the added VU in the acronym is a reference to the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the location where the research had been carried out (Steen et al. 2010).

6

For further analyses see Mundwiler (2010).

7

In the context of illness, Fleischman (2001: 490) introduces the specific metaphor illness sufferers are containers, which can, however, be seen as a submapping of the general metaphor people are containers. Since the conceptual analysis is aimed at finding basic-level metaphors (see section 1.4 on methods), the more general category is used here.

8

Personification metaphors are widely applied since they are based in our own experience of being a person (Lakoff/Johnson 1980: 25). The virus appears to be personified in different domains as, for example, in the aggression domain where it is personified as a killer. There are also more general personifications, drawn from the conceptual metaphor a virus is a living organism (human being/animal/plant). This conceptual metaphor is represented by 19 instantiation in subcorpus B and only 5 expressions in subcorpus C and comparing these results with the killer metaphor, the observation is confirmed that personification was especially prominent during the early phase when not much was known about the virus yet.

 

Can love conquer all in business media discourse? An assessment of gender-specific metaphorical use

Laurent Nicaise

 Université Libre de Bruxelles (lnicaise@ulb.ac.be)

Abstract

There has been increasing interest in the use of metaphor in business media discourse, both in the nature of the metaphorical expressions and their connection with ideology. However, there has been growing recognition that the impact of gender on the production of metaphorical expressions of WAR and LOVE, two key markers of group identity in business and economics, has not been fully investigated. To explore that issue in more depth, this paper extends existing perspectives on gender-related use of metaphors by integrating a multivariate analysis that allows for a better assessment of the individual impact of the author ’s sex on metaphor selection and its relation to other factors.

Die Verwendung von Metaphern im Wirtschaftsmediendiskurs hat in den letzten Jahren wachsendes Interesse auf sich gezogen, das sowohl in der Natur der metaphorischen Ausdrücke als auch auf deren Verkettung mit ideologischem Gehalt/Verbindung mit Ideologie liegt. Indes wurde bis dato die Auswirkung des Geschlechts auf die Produktion von Ausdrücken im Metaphernbereich KRIEG und LIEBE/ auf die Produktion von Ausdrücken im Bereich der Kriegs- und Liebesmetaphorik, zwei wesentliche Gruppenidentitätsmerkmale in Handel und Wirtschaft, noch nicht umfassend untersucht. Zur Vertiefung dieses Aspekts soll in dem vorliegenden Beitrag der geschlechterspezifische/geschlechterbezogene Gebrauch von Metaphern eingehend erforscht werden. Anhand einer multivariater Analyse wird versucht, eine bessere Beurteilung der individuellen Auswirkungen des Geschlechts des Autors auf die Wahl von Metaphern und deren Beziehung zu anderen Faktoren vorzulegen.

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Can love conquer all in business media discourse? An assessment of gender-specific metaphorical use

Laurent Nicaise, Université Libre de Bruxelles (lnicaise@ulb.ac.be)

Abstract

There has been increasing interest in the use of metaphor in business media discourse, both in the nature of the metaphorical expressions and their connection with ideology. However, there has been growing recognition that the impact of gender on the production of metaphorical expressions of WAR and LOVE, two key markers of group identity in business and economics, has not been fully investigated. To explore that issue in more depth, this paper extends existing perspectives on gender-related use of metaphors by integrating a multivariate analysis that allows for a better assessment of the individual impact of the author’s sex on metaphor selection and its relation to other factors.

Die Verwendung von Metaphern im Wirtschaftsmediendiskurs hat in den letzten Jahren wachsendes Interesse auf sich gezogen, das sowohl in der Natur der metaphorischen Ausdrücke als auch auf deren Verkettung mit ideologischem Gehalt/Verbindung mit Ideologie liegt. Indes wurde bis dato die Auswirkung des Geschlechts auf die Produktion von Ausdrücken im Metaphernbereich KRIEG und LIEBE/ auf die Produktion von Ausdrücken im Bereich der Kriegs- und Liebesmetaphorik, zwei wesentliche Gruppenidentitätsmerkmale in Handel und Wirtschaft, noch nicht umfassend untersucht. Zur Vertiefung dieses Aspekts soll in dem vorliegenden Beitrag der geschlechterspezifische/geschlechterbezogene Gebrauch von Metaphern eingehend erforscht werden. Anhand einer multivariater Analyse wird versucht, eine bessere Beurteilung der individuellen Auswirkungen des Geschlechts des Autors auf die Wahl von Metaphern und deren Beziehung zu anderen Faktoren vorzulegen.

Keywords

Gender – social identity – corpus linguistics –business media discourse – metaphor

1. Introduction

Counting metaphor frequencies in various corpora has been a rewarding research object in recent years. Yet, for want of reliable data, one of the variables impacting metaphor selection, the author’s sex, has been left almost untouched. There is little doubt that the use of metaphorical expressions varies according to the author’s sex and concomitant gender. One particular metaphorical domain has been identified as a marker of gender identification, namely the WAR metaphor. Previous studies on this particular metaphorical domain show divergent results, ranging from Eubanks' findings that “no salient gender pattern emerged with respect to Trade Is War” (2000: 162) to Koller's observation (2006: 252) that the WAR metaphor is highly gender-specific and ideological since it constructs an aspect of the world as “an act of large-scale aggression enacted mostly by men”.

Such mixed results obviously require further research, all the more since, up to the present day, no attempt has been made to integrate the variable ‘author’s sex’1 into a multivariate quantitative analysis, encompassing as many independent variables as possible, so as to measure the impact of the author’s sex on the selection of metaphorical expressions of WAR and LOVE and the hierarchy between these independent variables. Recently, efforts have been made to avoid monocausal explanations of differences in metaphor use. In one of the most rigorous attempts to relate metaphor use to a range of factors, Semino and Koller (2009) have shown that the differences noted in the metaphorical expressions used by former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and one of his political opponents, Emma Bonino, can be imputed not only to gender but also to political orientation, goals, topics, institutional roles and national audiences. I strongly agree with the authors’ claim that gender-related variation can only be thoroughly interpreted by taking into account the interaction of a range of factors.

Since the vast majority of these factors can be coded as categorical variables and the outcome is often binary (the author either uses or does not use a particular lexical item), I would suggest conducting binary logistic regression to quantify the individual impact of each factor and its relation to others. When the corpus consists of a collection of press articles, I would further propose that the relation between the use of these metaphorical expressions and readership statistics, such as education, profession and income in the target audience, should be included not only in the qualitative but also in the quantitative analysis, as journalists attempt to some degree to adjust their discourse to the socio-economic features of their readers. To cover business media discourse from various angles without privileging a particular approach to the discipline or ideological inclination, all articles published in a full financial year and dealing with market reports, analyses or investment advice were gathered by consulting the digital archives of four newspapers and two weekly magazines in Belgium. The corpus compiled for the initial analysis includes ± 450000 words, distributed among nearly 1000 articles selected randomly from these publications.

The present article is part of a broader research project, now at the postdoctoral stage, investigating the use and functions of metaphor in the financial press. The initial goal of the doctoral project was to develop a multifunctional model to predict and explain the use of such metaphors. Particular attention was paid to identifying underlying ideological premises and their relation to an array of factors, such as language community, gender, seasonal influence and degree of specialisation. The present additional research focuses on the implications of gender-specific metaphor selection as a signal of group identification in a broader socio-economic context.

2. Theoretical and methodological considerations

Metaphor selection may be regarded as a signal of group identification: the choice of metaphorical clusters will be influenced by the social group with which the language user identifies. Through a process of conceptual blending (see Fauconnier and Turner 2003), metaphor not only shapes a view of the world but also transports that view as a social reality. That is why metaphors will often be employed by a social group to reify their own ideological and discursive models.

Observational data in financial reports seem consistent with psychological theories of social identity models (see Tajfel and Turner 1986). Social categorization is a cognitive process in which individuals are classified as group members: individuals who feel a bond with a particular group resemble in many respects other members of the same group, while they share fewer similarities with members of other groups. This classification is probably the result of a universal evolutionary process designed to make our complex world more surveyable (see Cliquet and Thienpont 1999).

In addition to a personal identity, economic decision-makers and journalists have thus a social identity, which is defined by who does and who does not belong to their own group, even if each individual may be a member of more than one social group (e.g. family, religion, language community, association, workplace). Social identity appears to be important in the financial world since the members of the in-group enjoy various benefits related to recruitment, remuneration and promotion. In order to activate the feeling of solidarity with the in-group, the individual may try to adopt the characteristics of the group and adapt their behaviour and language use accordingly. Given that female decision-makers and commentators are greatly outnumbered by men in the financial world, one may assume that men make up the ‘in-group’ and women the ‘out-group’.

In the case of media business discourse, Koller (2006) assumes that in-group membership is shaped to some extent by the WAR metaphor, drawing on masculinised cognitive and discursive resources which serve to establish women as an out-group. Likewise, Hearn (1992) suggests that women feel less comfortable with the conflictual discursive model that the conceptual metaphors of WAR and SPORTS help to normalise.

Hence, it may be argued that ideology makes social groups cohere by exercising control on the actions and discursive practices of their members. However, groups are far less homogeneous today than they once were. In our everyday society, hegemony is an unstable and temporary equilibrium. The relevant question is: to what degree will women adhere to traditionally male values, in so far as these can be read off a text?2

Research data suggest that there may be conflicting strategies involved. One possible approach consists of complying with the existing male discursive practices that have been institutionalised in a particular domain, e.g., in this case, the financial world and business media discourse. An illustration of this strategy can be found in the language of female law-enforcement officers, who try as much as possible to hide their female linguistic and behavioural characteristics (see McElhinny 1995). Whether this communicative approach serves women’s interests is a matter of debate: Crawford (1995) maintains that this strategy often leads to the problematisation of female language and legitimisation of gender inequality.

The opposite strategy is to openly challenge traditional male discursive norms by promoting alternative female discursive patterns, which, as a rule, are more based on cooperation and solidarity than on conflict and hierarchy. This approach appears to be less common. Walsh (2001: 6) believes that this strategy may contribute to an undesirable gender split in the public domain by reinforcing the tenacious stereotype that women are better suited for functions with a lower social status.

Walsh’s data suggest that most women shift consciously between male and female discursive patterns, in particular in domains that are still dominated by male values. Walsh argues that the motives are not political but pragmatic, as women endeavour to accommodate the ambivalent expectations to which they are subjected in the public domain.

This hybrid tactic can be seen in a corpus of political speeches in the European Parliament, where Footit (1999) does not record significant differences between male and female politicians with regard to the frequencies of metaphorical expressions of WAR. However, Footit states that women tend to employ metaphorical expressions related to small-scale conflicts while men allude more often to all-out military campaigns. This could signal that women feel compelled to espouse typically male discursive norms in male-dominated domains, but that this adaptation process is not absolute.

The subtle differences in the use of the WAR metaphor between male and female journalists cannot be described by means of the statistical analysis presented here. A more in-depth qualitative analysis would be required to elicit the finer subtleties. Moreover, it is crucial to realise that female journalists, just like any other social group, do not respond equally to discursive practices in male-dominated domains. Since the present analysis does not screen journalists on a personal level, these distinctions are lacking in my model.

In order to further assess the dynamics of this hybrid tactic, an allegedly feminine metaphorical domain, the LOVE metaphor, was added to the model. The basic assumption is indeed that by assimilating the (sub)language of a social group, outsiders will acquire, to some extent, the cognitive schemata of the new group (Cohn 1987). Koller (2004) assumes that the members of the out-group will seek to secure easily identifiable features of the in-group, such as the conceptual metaphor BUSINESS IS WAR, in the hope of joining the authoritative discourse of the in-group and, by extension, the economic and political privileged class. However, some features of the original social group will remain, such as the LOVE metaphor. Chouliaraki and Fairclough (1999) believe that such hybridity is becoming an irreducible characteristic of modern complex discourse, caused by the fact that negotiation processes of norms and values are more arduous than ever in our postmodern society.

Koller (2005) perceives some heterogeneity in the metaphorical clusters encountered in the financial press. An example would be the expression “she did some serious housekeeping and bolstered the morale of the troops” (p. 205), which combines the diametrically opposed domains of WAR and HOUSEKEEPING within a single sentence. Such metaphorically conflicting clusters are expected to be observed in increasingly dissenting discourse, where hegemony is challenged, in the present case by the access of a growing number of women to the financial world and business media.

Hybridity is intimately connected with the current political and media landscape in Belgium and probably elsewhere in Europe, which is characterized by an increasing tendency towards ideological broadening – newspapers and magazines have more autonomy than before and political parties seek to address a broader group of potential voters.

Koller (2006: 240) notes that business media discourse is made even more complex by a high degree of readership orientation: financial journalists try to reproduce the conceptual models that they perceive in their audience. This feature holds true for media discourse in general but is particularly relevant for business reports, as financial journalists act as intermediaries between companies and readers, who may or may not invest in these companies. The journalistic objectives of financial newspapers, which, in the corpus studied here, provide investment advice to their readers, are driven, at least to some degree, by the goal of assisting their readers in increasing the value of their portfolios or taking other financial decisions. Consequently, the metaphorical expressions found in the corpus are not the sole property of the journalists but are driven by external agents as well (business people and readers).

From a corpus-linguistics point of view, the material selected for the qualitative and quantitative analysis includes 967 articles selected randomly from six Belgian publications focusing partly or exclusively on business and finance: De Standaard (Dutch-speaking and conservative), De Morgen (Dutch-speaking and progressive), Trends-Cash (Dutch-speaking and liberal), La Libre Belgique (French-speaking and conservative), Le Soir (French-speaking and progressive) and L’Investisseur (French-speaking and liberal). In the Belgian political environment, the ‘liberal’ parties tend to favour a free-market policy, while the ‘progressive’ political formations are inclined to adopt a more community-based view. The financial year 2005 was chosen due to its representative nature in historical perspective, i.e. a normal share price evolution without considerable upward or downward motion.

The corpus comprises a total of 448764 words, distributed evenly among the six publications concerned. The material includes the headline and the body of the article. The collected articles were then ordered according to the date of publication, assigned a number and finally submitted to a selection made by a random number generator, so as to guarantee the representativity of the sample.3 Editorials were excluded due to the risk of a bias associated with this highly rhetorical type of discourse. Although it would be quite interesting to look at generic differences between editorials and other types of financial articles, editorials in the financial press usually display more conscious and ostensible methods that appeal to the emotions, including a greater deal of metaphors. This may introduce a bias since this paper is primarily concerned with more unconscious tactics employed by women journalists to conform to dominant discursive expectations.

The procedure incorporates three stages: in the first stage, an onomasiological perspective that searches manually all the possible realizations, whether metaphorical or not, of seven pre-established target concepts (DAILY SHARE PRICE EVOLUTION, SHORT-TERM TREND, ECONOMIC SITUATION, DEVELOPMENT OF COMPANY RESULTS, COMPETITION, RESTRUCTURING and TAKE-OVER BID) was opted for. In the second stage, the metaphorical expressions were identified by means of the Metaphor Identification Procedure developed by Pragglejaz (2007), which is designed to ascertain whether a lexical unit has a more concrete basic meaning that contrasts with the meaning in the given context and whether this contrast can be understood by a comparison between the two meanings. Finally, these metaphorical expressions were classified in a wide range of metaphorical domains (WAR, SPORTS, WEATHER, HEALTH, MOBILITY, MACHINERY, LOVE, ANIMALS, FOOD and ORIENTATION) but the discussion in the present article primarily deals with WAR and LOVE.

The approach is multivariate. As the variable ‘author’s sex’ should not be isolated from other key factors impacting the selection of metaphors, seven other variables were included in the model: the above-mentioned pre-established target concepts, political orientation (liberal, conservative or progressive), type of article (market report, analysis or investment advice), season (winter, spring, summer or autumn), language community (French or Dutch), specialisation (specialised or nonspecialised press) and the six aforementioned publications. These variables were selected on the basis of their intrinsic interest or because they had been identified and discussed in previous research (see e.g. Boers 1999 for the variable ‘season’ and Caers 2008 for ‘political orientation’). For the sake of completeness, some of these factors will be mentioned briefly at the end of the results section, yet the discussion in the present article concentrates on the impact of the author’s sex.

The data were analysed by means of logistical regression analysis, which makes it possible to predict the presence or absence of metaphorical expressions from this set of eight independent variables and to assess the hierarchy between these variables.

I shall now discuss how the WAR and LOVE metaphorical domains are articulated in my corpus.

3. The WAR metaphor

The metaphorical domain of WAR is not uniform: it contains a blending of physical aggression and military strategy. As Koller (2004) emphasizes, metaphorical expressions often contain aspects of both features. Financial journalists often depict the stock market and the broad economy as a war, with belligerent parties, friendly or hostile take-over (bids) and offensive or defensive strategies:

(1) Boeing/Airbus: fin de l'armistice? (La Libre Belgique, 12/04/2005)

(Boeing/Airbus: End of the cease fire?)4

These and numerous other metaphorical expressions of WAR found in my corpus are consistent with the claim that metaphors often have a metonymical basis (see e.g. Barcelona 2000 and Goossens 1990). One of the main functions of the metonymy is to reduce the complex aggregate of financial players (shareholders, analysts, brokers, CEOs, …) to an easily identifiable unit, such as ‘Wall Street’, the renowned location of the US financial markets. The place stands for the diversity of people operating in that place or connected with it through various channels. This unified metonymic referent then serves as a target domain that will be understood with the help of distinctive source domains: Wall Street is fighting back, moving forward, is ailing, is on the ropes, … Furthermore, White (1997) argues that the market is frequently conceptualised through the medium of personification, enabling the journalist to view companies, organisations, national economies, financial institutions and stock markets as human entities involved in mutual fighting.

In many instances, financial journalists comment on the TAKE-OVER PROCESS in terms of WAR, which can only be won by the strongest side:

(2) ABN Amro komt dus als overwinnaar uit een strijd die vijf maanden duurde, en die heel financieel Europa in zijn greep hield. (De Standaard, 16/09/2005)

(ABN Amro has emerged as the winner of a fight that lasted for five months and had financial Europe in its grasp.)

Another target concept continually associated with WAR is COMPETITION:

(3) Mobistar entend conserver ce trésor de guerre pour affronter la concurrence impitoyable tout en procédant à des rachats. (L’Investisseur, 22/08/2005)

(Mobistar intends to keep this war chest to fight the ruthless competition while taking over other companies.)

Our current economic model is highly hierarchical. The power of the market leader is defined by the amount of defeated competitors. There is almost a natural(ised) order until the time has come to challenge this order, for instance after a competitor has made a technological breakthrough or developed a more efficient commercial strategy. The end of this new battle ushers in a new era. Metaphorical expressions of WAR may be used to justify this perpetual fight or, by opposition, to try to maintain the supremacy of the current leader. When a leading company or national economy has to ‘fight a war’, an atmosphere of solidarity may be fostered by the frequent use of metaphorical expressions of WAR. Boers and Demecheleer (1995) note that when people read that their national economy and companies are attacked by external enemies, they are more inclined to tolerate extraordinary measures, such as changes in the tax system, working more for less money and collective redundancies.

Wars exist in all shapes and sizes. Hunt and Menon (1995) distinguish between major wars, significant local wars and small wars. Major wars are widespread conflicts between world powers and their key allies, e.g. the First and Second World War. Vital economic interests are at stake, especially the interests of the major economic powers (the US against China for example) or multinational giants (Boeing against Airbus):

(4) Conflict Airbus-Boeing wordt zwaarste handelsoorlog ooit. (De Morgen, 01/06/2005)

(Conflict Airbus-Boeing is turning into the heaviest trade war ever.)

In military conflicts, decisions are made by world leaders that determine the strategy and have the authority and charisma to impose their views. In the economy, the strategy is shaped by presidents, finance ministers and influential CEOs. From the perspective of this metaphorical model, major wars can only be won if the leaders display exceptional moral strength and their subjects are prepared to make the necessary sacrifices:

(5) Nous devons être continuellement compétitifs et agressifs. Nous devons être comme les Russes défendant Moscou face à Napoléon. Nous devons nous battre comme les guerriers de Sony que nous sommes, a proclamé le nouveau PDG de Sony. (Le Soir, 23/09/2005)

(We must remain competitive and aggressive at all times. We must be like the Russians defending Moscow against Napoleon. We must fight like the Sony warriors that we are, Sony’s new CEO declared.)

Serious regional wars break out when countries or large regions want to protect vital interests, such as the natural resources in Africa. The motives are similar to those of major wars but the impact on the rest of the world is more limited. Large segments of the economy and financial world operate on that level: companies compete with one another in different geographical regions and market segments (for example energy and automobile). Here, key-decisions are taken by top managers at the business unit level:

(6) Les investissements publicitaires piqueraient du nez au premier trimestre. En cause, la hausse du prix de l'énergie, l'euro et la guerre dans la grande distribution. (La Libre Belgique, 08/04/2005)

(Advertising investments have been falling sharply in the first quarter, due to rising energy prices, the euro and the war in the big retail.)

Small-scale wars are local armed conflicts, skirmishes, insurrections, ... In the economy these conflicts correspond to the organic competition between individual companies, departments and even internal competition within large companies. These daily operations are left to managers and do not receive particular attention unless competition exceeds normal limits and alters the profitability or even viability of the company:

(7) La prise en charge de ce format permettra à Global Graphics de mieux affronter la concurrence dans le segment à faible coût du marché d'impression. (L’Investisseur, 18/05/2005)

(Supporting this format will allow Global Graphics to better fight against competition in the low-cost printing sector.)

In addition to traditional metaphorical expressions of war, other types of physical aggression are possible in financial-economic reports:

(8) Ce fut le concordat... et puis la faillite. Michel Capron, chercheur à la Fopes (UCL), parla de « duel à mort au-dessus d'un volcan ». (La Libre Belgique, 15/03/2005)

(First Chapter 11, than bankruptcy. Michel Capron, researcher at Fopes (UCL), speaks of a “duel to the death on top of a volcano”.)

Most metaphorical expressions of WAR are conventional, as are the other metaphorical domains analysed in this study. This could, at least in part, be attributed to the circumstances under which journalists often have to operate: information needs to be processed faster than ever, so journalists have to rely on conventional metaphors (Koller 2006: 250). Yet, some critically-minded linguists, such as Holmgreen (2003), suggest that military metaphors support the rhetorical strategy of free market ideology by encouraging the readers to identify the agents responsible for a crisis outside the system itself, instead of questioning the free market mechanisms.

One may wonder, indeed, what the financial world would be like without the WAR metaphor. This question cannot be answered reliably, even if one may assume that the WAR metaphor barely leaves any space for sustainable economic strategies and cooperation to solve economic problems.

Koller (2004), on the other hand, argues that drawing heavily on the WAR metaphor helps to maintain the social domain of business discourse as a male arena. According to Koller, it is the nature of war, i.e. a highly masculinised form of engagement, which makes it almost paradigmatic in media reports on business and marketing. The intensive use of the WAR metaphor thus supports a discourse community characterised by masculinity, entrenching the war patterns and securing the gendered power relations in business discourse.

4. The LOVE metaphor

While the WAR metaphor emphasises the conflictual features of business relationships, the LOVE metaphor tends to focus on cooperation, mutual trust, exchange of information and commitment. According to Hunt and Menon (1995: 87), the metaphoric transfer involved in the MARRIAGE metaphor suggests that emphasizing these aspects of mutual trust and commitment could increase effectiveness in doing business.

O’Malley and Tynan (1999) agree with Hunt and Menon and have found that by entering a romance-like relationship based on commitment and mutual trust, uncertainty can be reduced and resources can be bundled to create more value and wealth.

The LOVE metaphor is particularly abundant in take-over discourse. In the minds of financial journalists, a take-over process often resembles a mating game:

(9) De paringsdans rond de London Stock Exchange (LSE) sleept nu al aan sinds midden december, toen de Deutsche Börse haar eerste bod uitbracht. (De Standaard, 02/02/2005)

(The London Stock Exchange (LSE) has been doing a courtship dance since mid-December, when Deutsche Börse launched its first bid.)

The seduction attempt can result in a relationship:

(10) Pacman épouse un ‘tamagochi’. Bandai, l’inventeur des fameux ‘tamagochi’ va se marier avec le créateur du jeu ‘Pacman’ Namco. (Le Soir, 03/05/2005)

(Pacman marries a ‘tamagochi’. Bandai, the inventor of the famous ‘tamagochi’ is to get married to Namco, the creator of the game ‘Pacman’.)

Or in a rejection:

(11) De beurs van Frankfurt bood vorige maand ruim 2 miljard euro op LSE, maar Londen wees die avances af. (De Morgen, 10/02/2005)

(The Stockmarket of Frankfurt offered as much as 2 billion euros to buy LSE last month, but London turned down their advances.)

5. Results

Relationship between the author’s sex and the use of WAR and LOVE metaphors:

Table 1

 

 

Relationship between the reader’s sex and the use of WAR and LOVE metaphors:


 

Table 2

(% male readers within source)

WAR

LOVE

Trends-Cash (57.8%)

8.8%

0.5%

De Standaard (55.3%)

5.6%

0.8%

De Morgen (50.2%)

5%

1.2%

 

Hierarchy between the author’s sex and the other variables:

Table 3


 

The metaphorical domain of WAR makes up 4.7% (p < 0.000) of the total number of metaphorical expressions used to describe the pre-selected target concepts in this research. This makes WAR imagery a well-established metaphorical domain, yet less frequent than, say, HEALTH (19.2%; p < 0.000) and MOBILITY (14.9%; p < 0.000). but more than, say, SPORTS (1.6%; p < 0.000) or WEATHER (1.9%; p < 0.000). Metaphorical expressions of LOVE are certainly less common (1.4%; p < 0.000).

Beyond that, metaphorical expressions of LOVE are three times more frequent in articles written by female journalists (5.4% versus 1.8%; p < 0.000). More surprisingly however, is that female journalists use roughly as many metaphorical expressions of WAR as their male colleagues (6.9% compared to 6.2%; p < 0.000). The different metaphorical expressions of WAR and LOVE can be observed across a limited yet sufficient number of female authors (20 distinct authors) and are not a feature of one journalist’s personal style; nor do the ‘house rules for journalists’ since the variable ‘publication’ itself is not statistically significant.

These latter outcomes are surprisingly beyond my own expectations, based on some works in the literature discussed above and on the observation that, all in all, male journalists use slightly more metaphorical expressions (69.4% versus 65.3%; p < 0.000) to describe the seven pre-established target concepts selected here, which rules out the possibility that higher frequencies of metaphorical expressions of WAR and LOVE may be simply attributed to higher proportions of metaphorically used words in general.

The present data seem to confirm the claim that women make linguistic efforts to become member of the dominant in-group. However, the markers of the original group identity do not entirely disappear, which may explain why the LOVE metaphor remains more common in financial articles written by women.

In this respect, there appears to be a relationship between the frequency of metaphorical expressions of WAR and the proportion of male readers. Concentrations of metaphorical expressions of WAR are higher in publications with a higher percentage of male readers (p < 0.000): De Morgen (5% of WAR imagery for 50.2% of male readers5), De Standaard (5.6% for 55.3%) and TrendsCash (8.8% for 57.8%).

These findings concur with Koller’s observation (2006: 251), based on a sample of articles collected in Business Week and The Economist, that “the group written about is largely convergent with the group written for – readers are obviously meant to recognize themselves in the journals and papers”. Group identification is fostered by echoing the conceptual models that financial journalists perceive in their target audience, and the WAR metaphor plays a key-role in the process, since metaphor formation contributes to the interpretation of experience and guides actions in a variety of domains, here, the financial world.

As expected, the use of LOVE imagery correlates inversely (p < 0.000): De Morgen (1.2% of metaphorical expressions of LOVE), De Standaard (0.8%) and TrendsCash (0.5%).

Unfortunately, correlation between the use of metaphorical expressions of WAR / LOVE and education, profession and income in the target audience (as defined by the CIM) is poor. This may be explained by the observation that the three publications involved in this study are read primarily by the ‘well-educated upper classes’, which can be inferred from the distribution among ‘social groups’ in the CIM statistics. The CIM defines a social group by computing a ratio between the professional occupation of the main contributor to the family income and his or her education level. The population of readers is divided into eight groups, the value of 1 corresponding to the highest professional and education level. Social groups 1 and 2 are overrepresented in the publications concerned, ranging from 57% in De Standaard to 61% in De Morgen. Such minor differences in the publications’ readership demographics make an analysis of the relation between the frequencies of metaphorical expressions of WAR / LOVE and the social group membership of the readers involved irrelevant.

It is intricate to make a clear differentiation of metaphor use as influenced by the author’s sex and gender on the one hand and culturally gendered metaphors on the other. If the variable ‘author’s sex’ is crossed with the variable ‘language community’ – which in the Belgium context defines cultural identity up to a certain degree -, it transpires that Dutch-speaking male journalists use slightly more metaphorical expressions of WAR (6.8%) and fewer of LOVE (0.9%) than their female colleagues (WAR = 6.2%; LOVE = 1.3%). Unfortunately, these results are not significant (p = 0.529 for WAR and p = 0.658 for LOVE). Neither does the qualitative analysis performed on the type of metaphorical expressions being used, provide any indication of culturally gendered use of specific metaphorical expressions of WAR and LOVE.

However, the French-speaking press does display significant frequency differences in this case (p < 0.000): French-speaking female journalists employ more metaphorical expressions of LOVE (15.9%) and WAR (8.6%) than their male counterparts (WAR = 4.6%; LOVE = 4.1%). Further analysis reveals that the higher concentrations of metaphorical expressions of WAR and LOVE in the financial articles written by French-speaking female journalists can be imputed almost exclusively to the subject discussed in the article: with regard to the use of metaphorical expressions of WAR, it is remarkable that female journalists formulate primarily the concept of COMPETITION (100% of all the metaphorical items used to describe this concept) and to a lesser degree TAKE-OVER BID (21.9%) in terms of WAR; as for the metaphorical domain of LOVE, female journalists describe the concept of TAKE-OVER BID chiefly in terms of LOVE (75%), while they do not use a single metaphorical expression to convey the other target concepts (p < 0.000). By contrast, their male colleagues use fewer metaphorical expressions of LOVE (57.6%) and more WAR imagery (25.8%) to describe the concept of TAKE-OVER BID (p < 0.000). Male journalists also employ metaphorical expressions of WAR (7.1%) to convey the concept of RESTRUCTURING, while female journalists do not (p < 0.000). Although culture should not be equated with the language community in the Belgian situation, it seems that cultural considerations may be triggering contrasting metaphoric conceptions according to the author’s sex and corresponding gender.

I shall now discuss the hierarchy between the author’s sex and the other independent variables. When the author’s sex is included in a multivariate model designed to predict the use of metaphorical expressions of WAR, it transpires that the most influential factor is the target concept itself (Wald value of 704.503; p < 0.000)6, which far exceeds the weight of the next highest Wald value of 40.441 (p < 0.000) for the effect of the variable ‘language community’.These two variables unmistakably outweigh the variables ‘political orientation (Wald value of 7.8; p = 0.02) and ‘author’s sex’ (Wald value of 0.628; p = 0.731). In the prediction model for metaphorical expressions of LOVE, the variable ‘target concept’ appears to have the highest impact (Wald value of 182.293; p < 0.000), followed by ‘language community’ (Wald value of 35.651; p < 0.000) and the author’s sex (Wald value of 8.881; p = 0.012). These statistics demonstrate that the variable ‘author’s sex’ and concomitant gender cannot be isolated from other variables in an analysis of metaphor use. Furthermore, the regression model developed here indicates that the effect of the author’s sex, if significant at all, is overridden by the target concept and language community in the case of WAR and LOVE imagery and also by the political orientation in the case of metaphorical expressions of WAR.

For the sake of completeness, some results regarding the direction of the observed effects will be mentioned. It is noteworthy that journalists writing for the liberal-minded press (o.r. 1.69)7 use more WAR imagery than their colleagues in the conservative (o.r. 1.569) and progressive press (reference category). In addition, odds ratios Dutch-speaking/French-speaking press indicate that Dutch-speaking journalists (o.r. 2.655) are more inclined to employ metaphorical expressions of WAR but are particularly reluctant to use LOVE imagery (o.r. 0.196; p < 0.000). Finally, high proportions of WAR imagery are recorded when the concepts TAKE-OVER BID (reference category) and COMPETITION (o.r. 13.054, p < 0.000) are involved, while metaphorical expressions of LOVE are almost exclusively used with the concept TAKE-OVER BID (o.r. 1421.655; p < 0.000).

Although some differences in the sex-related use of metaphorical domains exist (male journalists tend to use more metaphorical expressions of HEALTH and MOBILITY for example), these probabilities exceed the 0.05 significance level in the logistical regression analysis, which indicates that the use of metaphorical expressions of LOVE is significantly more related to the author’s sex than is the case for other metaphorical domains.

6. Discussion

One may wonder, to what extent the individual female journalist is capable of resisting discursive control. It would be presumptuous to claim that this question may be answered only by means of the present corpus-based linguistic study. A key factor here could be the existence of a detailed style guide for journalists. Yet, although all publications provide their journalists with a range of instructions regarding content, terminology and style, some of the financial journalists with whom I spoke did not report receiving such explicit guidelines on the use of specific metaphors.

It is even doubtful whether female journalists writing for ideologically heterogeneous publications are able to reflect on metaphorical choices, considering the time pressure under which articles have to be written. The result is often a “quickly produced newspaper prose” (Eubanks 2000), including a great many conventionalized metaphors, which tend to support, deliberately or not, the existing power structures, and in the case of WAR and LOVE metaphor, to sustain a fairly strict gender dichotomy.

The comparative rarity of metaphorical expressions of LOVE may be partly attributed to the narrow scope of the MARRIAGE metaphor in business reports. The main application of the LOVE metaphor is related to the traditional conception of a monogamous marriage between two partners who remain faithful and committed to each other. Not abiding by the rules of monogamy will threaten marital relationships. It is not pertinent to debate here whether this conventional view fits with human nature. In any case, Hunt and Menon (1995: 87) argue that this concept of a monogamous marriage metaphor is inadequate in economic discourse, especially marketing. Most companies are indeed undoubtedly polygamous: they ‘flirt’ with different partners, build partnerships with multiple distributors, suppliers and even competitors.

The findings presented in this article go some way to indicating that when one is exposed to discourse in a particular field, i.e. women journalists in the financial press, one will assimilate and reproduce the corresponding mental models to a certain degree. Nevertheless, the degree to which any individual is free to process discourse is difficult to assess: personal cognitive freedom can vary substantially depending on a range of factors, such as cultural and political background, income, education, job, social milieu, lifestyle, etc. Joseph (2006: 126) maintains that the message designed to persuade one’s audience is not unconditionally accepted by discourse recipients but is subject to a complex negotiation that enables recipients to put the message into perspective: “ordinary people do not simply accept what those in power tell them, but question it, are sceptical about it, resist it, appropriate it and tweak it in order to suit their own ends”.

7. Conclusion

It has been argued in the paper that the use of metaphorical expressions of WAR and LOVE may be considered as a marker of in-group membership and social identification. Since metaphors guide people’s abstract reasoning and transport a world view as a social reality, metaphorical expressions of WAR and LOVE are likely to be employed by a social group to reify their own ideological and discursive models. In the case of financial-economic media discourse, in-group membership builds predominantly on the WAR metaphor, drawing on the masculinised domain of FIGHTING and grounding this conflictual model even further.

The corpus-based quantitative analysis of about 1000 financial-economic articles in the Belgian press reveals that an author’s use of metaphorical expressions of WAR and LOVE is determined to a significant degree by the target concept and to a lesser extent by gender, language community and economic-political preferences – factors that could be considered to fall under the common denominator of ideology.

Obviously, the method presented in this paper is only an explorative attempt to assess the direct and indirect influence of a range of variables on the selection of metaphorical expressions of WAR and LOVE with the help of a corpus combined with a multivariate statistical tool. Additional parameters, such as genre, syntactical features and word class (see Berber Sardinha 2008 for the calculation of metaphor probabilities based, among other variables, on word class) could be included to refine the analysis. It would be useful to evaluate the connection between the use of metaphorical expressions of WAR / LOVE and some of the characteristics of the target audience (e.g. income class and education), that turned out not to be significant in this research project but, in my view, still needs further research, since the poor correlation may be due to the nature of the specific publications on which the present study is based. To investigate this relation, I would recommend considering publications with more divergent socio-economic profiles.

Finally, although there appear to be some interactions between the metaphorical expressions of WAR and LOVE, no clear patterns emerged concerning the coherence or incongruity between these two metaphorical domains. This may be due to the focus of my analysis, which rests more on the hierarchy between the variables effecting the use of particular metaphorical items than on the conceptual links between these metaphorical domains within a text. It may also be attributed to the nature of my corpus, which differs from marketing discourse, which, as Koller (2008) shows convincingly, has undergone a fundamental shift in terms of social practice and corresponding discursive features. Although contemporary marketing discourse is still dominated by the WAR metaphor, the RELATIONSHIP MARKETING metaphor, particularly the ROMANCE and FAMILY metaphors, constitutes an emerging alternative conceptualisation, apparently triggered by a move from marketers to consumers, who, in today’s highly competitive, internet-driven global market, need to be courted to increase one’s market share. No such transition appears to have taken place in the types of discourse studied in my corpus: although financial journalists occasionally venture into alternative LOVE conceptualisations, in particular in TAKE-OVER discourse, this does not seem to have affected the cognitive underpinnings of financial reports and advice in a meaningful manner, as this domain is still subjet to a prevailing win-lose approach to investing.

If – as proposed by a growing number of cognitive linguists – metaphor selection guides people’s thoughts and defines to a certain degree in-group membership, then the observations made here may be taken as indirect evidence of the connection between metaphorical expressions of WAR / LOVE and the issue of gender-specific power relations in business media discourse.

References

Barcelona, Antonio (2000): “Types of arguments for metonymic motivation of conceptual metaphor”, in: Barcelona, Antonio (ed.): Metaphor and Metonymy at the Crossroads, Berlin/New York, 31-58.

Berber Sardinha, Tony (2008): “Metaphor probabilities in corpora”, in: Zanotto, Mara Sophia/Cameron, Lynne/Cavalcanti, Marilda C. (eds.): Confronting Metaphor in Use: An applied linguistic approach, Amsterdam/Philadelphia, 127-147.

Boers, Frank (1999): “When a bodily source domain becomes prominent: the joy of counting metaphors in the socio-economic domain”, in: Gibbs, Raymond W./Steen, Gerard (eds.): Metaphor in cognitive linguistics, Amsterdam/Philadelphia, 47-56.

Boers, Frank/Demecheleer, Murielle (1995): “Travellers, patients and warriors in English, Dutch and French economic discourse”, in: Belgisch Tijdschrift voor Filologie en Geschiedenis 73, 673-691.

Caers, Eric (2008): A contrastive study of reporting in The Guardian and The Economist: Metaphors in the transition from Keynesian economics to monetarism, PhD thesis, Antwerp.

Chouliaraki, Lilie/Fairclough, Norman (1999): Discourse in Late Modernity, Edinburgh.

Cliquet, Robert/Thienpont, Kristiaan (eds.) (1999): Ingroup-outgroup Behaviour in Modern Societies. An Evolutionary Perspective, The Hague/Brussels.

Cohn, Carol (1987): “Sex and death in the rational world of defense intellectuals”, in: Signs 12, 687-718.

Crawford, Mary (1995): Talking Difference: on Gender and Language, London.

Eubanks, Philip (2000): A War of Words in the Discourse of Trade: The Rhetorical Constitution of Metaphor, Carbondale, IL.

Fauconnier, Gilles/Turner, Mark (2003): The Way we Think: Conceptual Blending and the Mind’s Hidden Complexities, New York.

Footit, Hilary (1999): Women and the language of politics. Paper presented at the Conference on Women and Politics: debating ways forward, Middlesex University, 18 June.

Goossens, Louis (1990): “Metaphtonymy: The interaction of metaphor and metonymy in expressions for linguistic action”, in: Cognitive Linguistics 1, 323-340.

Hearn, Jeff (1992): Men in the Public Eye, London.

Holmgreen, Lise-Lotte (2003): “Setting the neo-liberal agenda: How metaphors help shape socio-economic "realities"”, in: Metaphorik.de 5, 90-115.

Hunt, Shelby D./Menon, Anil (1995): “Metaphors and competitive advantage: Evaluating the use of metaphors in theories of competitive strategy”, in: Journal of Business Research 33, 81-90.

Joseph, John E. (2006): Language and Politics, Edinburgh.

Koller, Veronika (2004): Metaphor and Gender in Business Media Discourse: a Critical Cognitive Study, Basingstoke.

Koller, Veronika (2005): “Critical discourse analysis and social cognition: evidence from business media discourse”, in: Discourse and Society 16, 199-224.

Koller, Veronika (2006): “Of critical importance: using corpora to study metaphor in business media discourse”, in: Stefanowitsch, Anatol/Gries, Stephan Th. (eds.): Corpus-Based Approaches to Metaphor and Metonymy, Berlin, 229-257.

Koller, Veronika (2008): “Brothers in arms: Contradictory metaphors in contemporary marketing discourse”, in: Zanotto Mara Sophia/Cameron, Lynne/ Cavalcanti Marilda C. (eds.): Confronting Metaphor in Use: An applied linguistic approach, Amsterdam / Philadelphia, 103-125.

McElhinny, Bonnie (1995): “Challenging hegemonic masculinities: female and male police officers handling domestic violence”, in: Hall, Kira/Bucholtz, Mary (eds.); Gender articulated, London, 217-244.

O’Malley, Lisa/Tynan, Caroline (1999): “The utility of the relationship metaphor in consumer markets: a critical evaluation”, in: Journal of Marketing Management 15, 587-602.

Pragglejaz Group (2007): “A practical and flexible method for identifying metaphorically used words in discourse”, in: Metaphor and Symbol 22, 1-39.

Robinson, Paul (2006): Military Honour and the Conduct of War: From Ancient Greece to Iraq, London.

Semino, Elena/Koller, Veronika (2009): “Metaphor, Politics and Gender: a Case Study from Italy”, in: Ahrens, Kathleen (ed.): Politics, Gender and Conceptual Metaphors, Basingstoke, 36-61.

Tajfel, Henri/Turner, John C. (1986): “The social identity theory of intergroup behaviour”, in: Worchel Stephan/Austin, William G. (eds.): The psychology of intergroup relations, Chicago, 7-24.

Walsh, Clare (2001): Gender and Discourse in Politics, The Church and Organizations. Harlow, England/New York.

White, Michael (1997): “The Use of Metaphor in Reporting Financial Market Transactions”, in: Cuadernos de Filología Inglesa 6, 233-245.

1 A distinction is made between the ‘author’s sex’, used as an independent variable in the multivariate model to refer to the biological features of the journalist, and ‘gender’, by which is meant the socially constructed language use (i.e. masculine or feminine) of the journalist, in conformity with the literature on gender.

2 Clearly, a degree of subjectivity is involved in the notion of ‘traditionally male values’. The notion is used here in the context of the WAR metaphor. Although an increasing number of armies now admit women to serve active duty, the vast majority of the fighting has most often been done by men and although women have been known to enforce standards of conduct during war, military codes of conduct, especially with regard to honour, are characterised by male values. In that respect, Robinson (2006) observes that, in the context of war, such codes are very often defined by men’s desire to prove their ‘manliness’.

3 Available on [http://www.kuleuven.be/psystat/applets/ranuni.htm]. This tool generates random numbers by extracting values from the computer system’s time, a relatively reliable procedure for randomly assigning objects to a sample in a statistical experiment.

4 The English ‘translations’ of the French and Dutch illustrations are intended to help the reader not familiar with French or Dutch. These translations are not part of the original and were prepared by the author. These are not meant to trigger a discussion of equivalence in terms of the equivalence debate in translation studies.

5 The figures for the amount of male readers are provided by the CIM, the Belgian Centre for Information on the Media. See Media Surveys Press and Cinema 06-07. http://www.cim.be.

6 The Wald test is used to determine whether an effect of a specific factor exists or not and to measure the hierarchy between the selected factors. Larger values signal a more pronounced impact. The associated p-value indicates how (un)likely a given observation is. In the present analysis, the data that do not reach the 0.05 significance level should be ignored.

Although most of the press articles in the corpus deal with stocks listed on the Belgian stock market (Euronext Belgium), increasingly globalised financial markets imply that some of the content may have been drafted on the basis of news agency releases in another language, especially English. There is some evidence of this impact on metaphor use, particularly when the issue of global market sentiment is discussed, as exemplified by the paradigmatic imagery of the struggle between bulls and bears. Some of the journalists that I interviewed during my research project acknowledge the influence from external English-speaking sources and occasionally from the other national language. Although it would reveal interesting data on the matter of cross-cultural interaction and authorship, it is not feasible at this stage of this multivariate research analysis to generate reliable statistics on the extent to which some of the content studied here was partially edited, rewritten or reworded in the target language.

7 o.r. (odds ratio) is a measure of association between two binary data values. The odds ratio represents the odds that an outcome (for example developing cancer) will occur given a particular exposure (for example radiation, smoking or consuming large quantities of red meat), compared to the odds of the outcome occurring in the absence of that exposure. In the present study, odds ratios estimate the effect of a variety of factors, such as the author’s sex, on the use of LOVE and WAR metaphors.

 

15 Fragen an Richard Waltereit

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15 Fragen über Metaphernforschung an Richard Waltereit[1]

1. Haben Sie eine oder mehrere Lieblingsmetapher(n)? Wenn ja, welche und warum?

Da fällt  mir im Moment leider keine ein. Ich bin ja auch nicht wirklich ein Metaphernforscher, sondern höchstens ein Metonymieforscher.

2. Wozu Metaphernforschung?

Aus meiner Sicht zeichnet Metaphern besonders aus, dass sie eine kreative Zuordnung von Ausdruck und Bedeutung sind oder sein können. Dies setzt sie von der üblichen Bedeutungszuordnung ab, bei der ein Sprecher sich immer am in der Sprache schon Vorgegebenen, Traditionellen orientiert. Diese Sonderstellung von Metaphern lädt dazu ein, an ihrem Beispiel vielfältige Fragen von Sprachwandel und Sprachvariation zu untersuchen. Metaphern können uns so einen Einblick darin geben, wie Sprache generell funktioniert.

3. Welches sind aus Ihrer Sicht die wichtigsten Fragen in Bezug auf die aktuelle Forschung über Metaphern?

(siehe 4)

4. Welche Trends oder Entwicklungspotenziale sehen Sie derzeit im Gebiet der Metaphernforschung?

Die Metaphernforschung könnte von einer verstärkten Integration quantitativer soziolinguistischer Methoden profitieren. Metaphern sind einzigartige Fälle von kreativer Bedeutungsbildung durch einzelne Sprecher. Es bietet sich an, mit dem feinkörnigen Instrumentarium der quantitativen Soziolinguistik zu überprüfen, wie sich neue Metaphern in der Sprachgemeinschaft verbreiten und mit der Zeit katachrestisch werden.


5. Wie schätzen Sie das Verhältnis zwischen Metapher und Metonymie ein?

Ich finde es schwer, von einem Verhältnis zu sprechen. Metonymien operieren auf einer völlig anderen Ebene als Metaphern, sie haben mit einem oft kaum merklichen Perspektivwechsel bei der Referenz zu tun, während Metaphern wirkliche Kreationen sind.

6. Welche Form der Metaphernforschung bewundern Sie und warum?

7. Welche Form der Metaphernforschung sehen Sie eher kritisch und warum?

Ich kann die Fragen 6, 7 und 9 nicht beantworten, da ich nicht alle jüngeren Entwicklung der Metaphernforschung verfolgt habe.

8. Wenn Sie für fünf Jahre Direktorin/Direktor eines Forschungszentrums „Metapher und Gesellschaft“ wären, was würden Sie tun?

Was mich im Moment beschäftigt ist die Frage, wie groß der kreative Beitrag eines einzelnen erwachsenen Sprechers zum Sprachwandel wirklich sein kann. Neuere Arbeiten von William Labov haben  mich davon überzeugt, dass der kindliche Spracherwerb entgegen dem, was ich früher dachte, sehr wohl zum Sprachwandel beitragen kann, nämlich dann, wenn die Sprachgemeinschaft selbst heterogen ist. Mit anderen Worten, wir brauchen nicht für jeden Fall von Sprachwandel anzunehmen, dass ein Erwachsener eine Innovation gemacht hat, die sich dann durch die Sprachgemeinschaft verbreitet. Im Fall der Metaphern scheint es jedoch nach wie vor plausibel, von einer solchen Innovation auszugehen, mehr als z.B. bei Metonymien. Wenn ich so ein Forschungzentrum leiten würde, würde ich in einem großangelegten Projekt überprüfen, ob diese Annahme richtig ist.

9. Welchen Bereich – außerhalb Ihres eigenen Forschungsgebietes – finden Sie besonders spannend?

10. Wer oder was hat Sie in Bezug auf die Erforschung der Metapher besonders geprägt?

Mich hat die Forschung zur historischen Semantik von Andreas Blank und Peter Koch an der FU Berlin in den 1990er Jahren sehr geprägt. Es war ein großes Privileg, daran teilhaben zu können.

11. Wie würden sie Kindern das erklären, was Sie gerade tun?

Ich sage, dass ich herausfinden will, warum Leute früher anders gesprochen haben als heute.

12. Welches Wissen würden Sie jungen Menschen über Metaphern und deren Wirkung mitgeben wollen?

Ich glaube, die Metaphernforschung kann Menschen dafür sensibilisieren, wie die Wahl des sprachlichen Ausdrucks selbst schon Botschaften transportiert.

13. Welches Fachbuch lesen Sie gerade und warum?

Ich lese gerade eine neue Biographie Ferdinand de Saussures, von John Joseph. Mich interessiert der historische und biographische Hintergrund Saussures.

14. Welchen Roman lesen Sie gerade und warum? Was gefällt Ihnen an diesem Roman?

Ich habe gerade F. Scott Fitzgeralds ersten Roman „This side of paradise“ gelesen. Mir gefällt daran die Schilderung der amerikanischen Gesellschaft vom Anfang des 20. Jahrhunderts aus der Perspektive eines enorm privilegierten Jugendlichen, und die Schilderung seiner zunehmenden Desillusionierung aber auch Selbsterkenntnis in der Art eines Entwicklungsromans.

15. Welche hier nicht gestellte Frage ist für Sie wichtig oder vielleicht sogar die wichtigste?

Dr. Richard Waltereit

Arbeitsort:

Newcastle University (Newcastle-upon-Tyne)

Arbeitsschwerpunkte:

Meine Forschungsschwerpunkte sind die historische Sprachwissenschaft des Französischen und die anderer romanischer Sprachen, besonders des Italienischen. Generell interessiert mich, wie Sprachgebrauch sich auf Sprachwandel auswirkt. Ich habe besonders zu Grammatikalisierung, Reanalyse, Diskurs- und Modalpartikeln, und reflexiven Anaphern in diesen Sprachen gearbeitet.

Werdegang:

Ich habe an der FU Berlin promoviert, in Tübingen habilitiert und bin seit 2006 in Newcastle. Ich gebe Kurse in französischer und jetzt auch italienischer Philologie, forsche natürlich weiter in diesen Bereichen, betreue Doktoranden und bin Direktor unseres Centre for Research in Linguistics and Language Sciences.

 

Wichtigste Publikationen:

Zu meinen wichtigsten Publikationen würde ich meine drei Monographien Metonymie und Grammatik (1998), Abtönung (2006) und Reflexive Marking in the History of French (2012) zählen, sowie meine Aufsätze Modal particles and their functional equivalents (2001), Reanalysis vs. Grammaticalization (2002, mit Ulrich Detges), Imperatives, interruption in conversation, and the rise of discourse markers: a study of Italian guarda (2002), À propos de la genèse diachronique des combinaisons de marqueurs. L'exemple de bon ben et enfin bref (2007), Diachronic pathways and pragmatic strategies: Different types of pragmatic particles from a diachronic point of view (2009, mit Ulrich Detges).



[1]
            Es können alle Fragen, gerne aber auch ausgewählte Fragen, beantwortet werden. Es besteht keine Notwendigkeit, alle Fragen zu beantworten. Ein Teil der hier aufgeführten Fragen ist durch die Rubrik „12 Fragen an…“ der Zeitschrift GAIA inspiriert. Sie wurden thematisch verändert und um weitere Fragen ergänzt.