02/09/2019 Political Science Sociology
DOI: 10.1515/9783110629460-004 SemanticScholar ID: 198669617 MAG: 2953749808

Metaphors and evaluation in popular economic discourse on trade wars

Publication Summary

Metaphor is used for different functions, including supporting the development of new knowledge and theory, communicating this, and persuading or framing its topic. All of these functions have been noted in economics texts. Analyses of popular economics texts have found that the same metaphor vehicles can be exploited in different ways to present different evaluations of their topic. For instance, both the Eurosceptic British press, and the Europhile Italian press framed the introduction of the Euro using a BIRTH metaphor, but used it very differently to convey their views (Semino 2002). We study the metaphors used to write about Sino-EU trade disputes in two popular newspapers, from China and the UK, in two corpora of approximately a third of a million tokens each. We find that similar metaphor groupings are used, notably FIGHT/ WAR, but with differing frequencies and in different ways. The Chinese texts used FIGHT/ WAR metaphors to write about protectionism, which tended to be personified and was rarely associated with a specific country. The UK texts used similar metaphors about free trade, which was characterised as the victim of assaults and in need of defending. As well as these qualitative findings, we found the quantitative data suggestive, though larger corpora would be needed for robust statistical conclusions.

CAER Authors

Avatar Image for Alice Deignan

Prof. Alice Deignan

University of Leeds - Professor of Applied Linguistics

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