Научная статья на тему 'The use of metaphor in political discourse'

The use of metaphor in political discourse Текст научной статьи по специальности «Языкознание и литературоведение»

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Ключевые слова

Аннотация научной статьи по языкознанию и литературоведению, автор научной работы — Verkhovtsova Olga, Slobozhenko Ruslan

This work is a study of the metaphor, that when used in political discourse, helps to create a special positive image of a politician. The political metaphor is one of the effective ways to manipulate a human consciousness.

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Текст научной работы на тему «The use of metaphor in political discourse»

The use of metaphor in political discourse 1 2 Verkhovtsova O. , Slobozhenko R. (Ukraine)

Метафора в политическом дискурсе Верховцова О. М.1, Слобоженко Р. А.2 (Украина)

1Верховцова Ольга Михайловна / Verkhovtsova Olga - старший преподаватель;

2Слобоженко Руслан Анатольевич /Slobozhenko Ruslan - старший преподаватель, кафедра иностранных языков, Институт международных отношений Национальный авиационный университет г. Киев, Украина

Abstract: this work is a study of the metaphor, that when used in political discourse, helps to create a special positive image of a politician. The political metaphor is one of the effective ways to manipulate a human consciousness.

Аннотация: данная работа представляет исследование метафоры, которая при использовании в политическом дискурсе помогает создать положительный имидж политического деятеля. Политическая метафора является одним из эффективных способов для манипулирования человеческим сознанием.

Keywords: political linguistic, political communication, metaphor, political discourse, lingual, manipulation, political metaphor.

Ключевые слова: политическая лингвистика, политическая коммуникация, метафора, политический дискурс, лингвистическая манипуляция, политическая метафора.

Nowadays constantly growing political activities stimulate an intensive development of political technologies which are impossible without mass media. The media that reach large numbers of people in a short time, evoke attention of the society to political communication and political discourse.

The political discourse should include all those present in the mind of the speaker and listener components that can affect the perception of speech, of the political views of the author. And their task, when creating a text, is to use all possible tools for managing the audience opinions. In political discourse there is a wide range of linguistic means capable to influence the opinion of the masses in order to manipulate them. One of the main and effective ways to make the speech expressive and associative is the use of political metaphors.

The objective of the work is to identify the main types of metaphors used by American politicians during electoral campaigns. The material used for the analysis is taken from printed preelection speeches of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton. The study of political discourse helps to find out important valuable components, characteristic for a certain culture, and correlate it with the current political picture for a better understanding of the true objectives pursued by a politician. Another important feature in the analysis of political discourse is the identification of the means that show the most effective strategies and methods to attract the attention of the audience and inspire trust in people.

The study of political discourse has been for as long as politics itself. It started from ancient Greece, from Cicero and Aristotle who placed the emphasis on rhetoric in achieving specific objectives. The use of metaphors was considered inappropriate for the language of science, because of inaccuracies associated with ambiguity. This view was reconsidered in the 20th century when metaphor became an integral element of speech. But for a long time there was no scientific analysis of the nature of metaphor and its function. It appeared only in the 60s of the 20th century with scientific research of political discourse. Since the early 1980s, there has been a growing interest in the area of political discourse.

Understanding of metaphor as a figure of speech and its usage in the language has been studied by many linguists. For example, A. Richards thinks it is not a "trick with words" or "an ornament" in the language. A metaphor involves a comparison.

Richards states that "it is the word which brings the meaning in the image which lack its original perception but not the image fills in the meaning" [2].

A metaphor thus draws a comparison between two terms, without using the words "as" or "like", as is done in simile. The terms focus and frame are indications for the two concepts that are being compared metaphorically by a writer or speaker. The focus is the most essential term and relates to the topic that is being discussed. Politicians often use metaphor in their speeches for the limits of individual and universal. On the one hand their vocabulary is political, legal, economic, full of terminology, and on the other hand they use expressive vocabulary and texts designed for a wide audience. Metaphors make political speeches more emotional and colourful.

As examples we took pre-election speeches by Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump. They use a lot of so-called dead metaphor which is traditionally defined as a figure of speech that has lost its force and imaginative effectiveness through frequent use.

Iran, the world's largest state sponsor of terrorism, is now flush with $150 billion in cash released by the United States. Worst of all, the Nuclear deal puts Iran, the number one state sponsor of Radical Islamic Terrorism, on a path to nuclear weapons (Donald Trump).

Your campaign inspired millions of Americans, particularly the young people who threw their hearts and souls into our primary (Hilary Clinton).

To some extend a plethora of metaphors in analysed texts are dead in the sense that they no longer act as metaphors -- they just become plain words, with a simple functional meaning. In a sense, this is how language develops. Somebody tries to explain something by making up a word that conjures up an image, and eventually the word becomes a standard in the language, with it's original image being lost or evolved:

The birthplace of our nation, colonies met just down the road from here, the revolution hung in the balance the national stage, build better lives and better futures, to change both hearts and laws, people who've inspired me, we've reached a milestone election marathon, the political scenario, the doors to the political arena, donors, money laundering, velvet revolution, the political chessboard, political game, embrace the enduring truth...

The feature of this type of metaphos is the use of static, collective metaphoric expressions, that completely lost their link with the word- shell and became neutral in emotional plan, preserving the emotional evaluation workload, but they are not the product of an individual act switching from text to text as ready semantic structures.

The role of metaphor in political discourse is significant and undeniable. It has the ability to influence the decision-making process, and its presence in the formal, sometimes incomprehensible and dry text allows to see clearly and imagine vividly a certain phenomenon of life, to understand, and define it better. Using appropriate metaphors appeals directly to the senses of listeners or readers, sharpening their imaginations to comprehend what is being communicated to them. Metaphors are also ways of thinking, offering the listeners and the readers fresh ways of examining ideas and viewing the world.

The speaker may use metaphors as hidden language features in order to impose upon the listener a certain view of reality, to form the right attitude towards it and cause the addresser's necessary emotional response. Thus we can conclude that the aim of the metaphor is to achieve a particular purpose by those who owns the means of manipulation in political discourse. It is an effective technique of manipulation of consciousness, it is one of the most powerful means of forming in the recipient needed emotional state and worldview.

Studying different examples we can say that the metaphor is used to create the name of reality and at the same time to understand the essential features of this reality. Contrary to a dead metaphor an active metaphor is one which is relatively new and hence is not necessarily apparent to all listeners, although if the metaphor is well-selected, it will be easy enough to understand.

Donald Trump's betting that the perils of today's world will blind us to its unlimited promise (Hilary Clinton).

Yet, as she threw the Middle East into violent turmoil, things turned out well for her. The Clintons made almost $60 million in gross income while she was Secretary of State (Donald Trump).

The given examples make possible to divide metaphors in positive and negative, depending on the way of manipulation. This is explained by the fact that the political discourse is contentious. Most often, political communication is intended to have an indirect impact on the distribution of power, on the opinion of the electorate, so a politician intensively resorts to the metaphor.

During an electoral campaign political speeches are rich in military and sports metaphors which, of course, points out that the fight is competitive and of warlike character, and all political parties are potential rivals and enemies. One of the tactics of hidden manipulation, with the aim of persuasion is the repeated use of the word "victory", the ultimate goal of the policy - "to ensure victory on the battlefield", "strengthen the foundation for victory"

Based on the research in the use of metaphor, we can say with certainty that the metaphor is a method of promoting linguistic thinking, creative perception of the world. Any metaphor serves as a means of implementing the knowledge of the mechanism, since it is formed by means of thought, it contributes to the successful perception of new knowledge.


1. Borisenko V. A., Mkrtchyan T. Y. Language means in political discourse // Molodoy ucheny, 2015. № 23. P. 1076-1079.

2. Richards A. Phylosophy of rithorics // Theory of metaphor / edited by Arutiunova N.and Zhurinskaya M. A. M., 1990. P. 44-67.

3. Available. [Electronic resource]. URL: http:// https://hillaryspeeches.com/ (date of access: 10.09.2016).

4. Available. [Electronic resource]. URL: http://www.vox.com/2016/7/21/12253426/donald-trump-acceptance-speech-transcript/ (date of access: 10.09.2016).

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