Coronavirus–inspired Metaphors in Political Discourse

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


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


Related Articles

Online learning challenges and opportunities in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in developing countries

The rapid development of information technology has influenced the change of concepts of the learning environment. Today, educational institutions are increasingly focused on teaching through technology. Many universitie...

The Macedonian Language in Regard to Covid-19

Original Article The Macedonian Language in Regard to Covid-19 The new disease that appears in December 2019 affects all spheres of people’s everyday living and functioning. Bearing in mind that language reflects so...

The discourse of motherhood and mother-daughter relationships in the novel Sula by Toni Morrison

Being an ideology, institution and experience, motherhood is an object of study of many authors. Many feminists recognize the significance of mother-daughter relationships and consider it the most powerful influence a wo...

Book Review on Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow: Illustrated 200th Anniversary Edition

This short essay reviewed Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow: Illustrated 200th Anniversary Edition, which was just published in April of this year by SeaWolf Press. After clarifying the context in which it o...

Comparative Analysis of Contemplative Pedagogy and its Possible Applications within Current International Education

While the variation of pedagogies has evolved over time in public school settings, there has also been a significant growth of alternative pedagogies over the mainstream circuit (Bodinet, 2016). One of lesser known pedag...

Download PDF file
  • EP ID EP694935
  • DOI -
  • Views 44
  • Downloads 0

How To Cite

Silvana Neshkovska & Zorica Trajkova (2020). Coronavirus–inspired Metaphors in Political Discourse. Thesis, 9(2), -.