Cognitive metaphor in the West and the East : A comparison of metaphors in the speeches of Barack Obama and Wen Jiabao
AuthorWong, Wai Yee Christine
The thesis discusses the metaphors used in the speeches of US President Barack Obama and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. The framework is Cognitive Metaphor Theory, which introduces the idea that cognitive metaphors are conceptualizations or patterns of thought, not lingusitic phenomena, although these metaphors give rise to linguistic metaphors. The metaphorical mapping, the relations between conceptual metaphors and our experience, the differences between conceptual metaphors and poetic metaphors, as well as the functions of metaphors are also discussed. It is the purpose of the thesis to show the ubiquity of metaphor by analyzing the metaphors used in the West (represented by Obama) and the East (represented by Wen). A comparison of the similarities and differences of the conceptual metaphors used by the two politicians is made. The topics of speeches vary, from internal affairs (such as economy and domestic politics) to international affairs. The findings show that the conceptual metaphors TO PURSUE WELL-BEING IS A JOURNEY, PERSONIFICATION and POLITICS IS WAR are found to be the most dominant in both the English and the Chinese corpus, but some details or linguistic expressions in the same conceptual metaphors differ. Some specific American and Chinese metaphors are also highlighted, for instance, the American Dream and the Chinese flag. Metaphors are extensively used in both Obama and Wen’s speeches, and in fact among politicians as well, since metaphors not only have rhetoric functions, but also the power function of legitimization and delegitimization.
PublisherUniversitetet i Tromsø
University of Tromsø
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Copyright 2012 The Author(s)
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