Coronavirus–inspired Metaphors in Political Discourse

Journal Title: Thesis - Year 2020, Vol 9, Issue 2

Abstract

In the face of the great danger posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, political leaders worldwide, speaking from a position of authority, delivered carefully crafted televised speeches and press conferences, intended to inform the public about the pandemic, its implications and the preventive restrictions they were imposing. The main objective of this paper is to investigate how politicians used language, particularly metaphors, when talking about and interpreting the newly created situation with the Covid-19 pandemic. For the purposes of this study a corpus was compiled of coronavirus-related speeches delivered by several key world political figures – Boris Johnson, Donald Trump, Angela Merkel, and Emanuel Macron. The speeches were delivered on a timeline from March to May 2020, i.e. the period that saw the inception, the peak and the gradual withdrawal of the first ‘wave’ of the coronavirus in Europe and the United States. A contrastive analysis of the speeches was carried out in order to detect similarities and differences in the use of metaphors on the part of the politicians, at the three specific time points of the pandemic’s trajectory. The final aim was to ascertain whether any correlation existed between the use of metaphoric language and the outcome of the pandemic, i.e. how people reacted and whether they followed the politicians’ instructions and recommendations. The analysis showed that a range of different metaphors permeated the analysed political speeches; however, the war metaphor presenting the pandemic as a fight against a deadly and invisible enemy was the most persistent one. The usage of war metaphor was particularly frequent during the peak of the pandemic but the results suggests that it had no real bearing on the outcome of the pandemic, i.e. people’s response to politicians’ calls for caution and obedience to the preventative measures.

Authors and Affiliations

Silvana Neshkovska & Zorica Trajkova

Keywords

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  • EP ID EP694935
  • DOI -
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How To Cite

Silvana Neshkovska & Zorica Trajkova (2020). Coronavirus–inspired Metaphors in Political Discourse. Thesis, 9(2), -. https://europub.co.uk/articles/-A-694935