Political metaphor in world Englishes

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One of the key-metaphor complexes in conceptualizing national identity is that of the nation as a body or a person, especially in English-speaking cultures, as evidenced in the lexicalization of phrases such as body politic, head of state). It has a long conceptual history and still figures prominently in present-day political discourse, both in Inner Circle English-speaking countries and internationally. It thus seems to show considerable semantic stability; however, it is still an open question whether the use of body-or person-based metaphors in international English means that recipients in different cultures understand these metaphors uniformly. This paper discusses empirical evidence from an international interpretation survey that shows substantial variation in conceptualization of the nation as a body, with five main conceptual scenarios (nation as body, nation's territory as body, nation as body part, nation as part of ego and nation as person).


Original languageEnglish
JournalWorld Englishes
Early online date26 May 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 May 2020

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