University of Botswana, Communication and Study Skills Unit, CAD, https://orcid.org/ 0000-0003-3499-4480, firstname.lastname@example.org
Studies on metaphor in political speeches have gained prominence in recent years, especially in Western political contexts where it has been shown that politicians gain the trust, confidence, and ratification of their audience when they speak persuasively (Charteris-Black, 2011, 2014). However, not much research has focused on the use of metaphors by politicians in non-Western (developing) contexts where political language is shaped by many factors that may account for variations in the use of metaphor across cultures. This paper contributes to the rhetoric of metaphor in political discourse by examining the range of (conceptual) metaphors used in the speeches of an African politician – John Mahama of Ghana. Drawing on discourse and cognitive theories of metaphor, I explore Mahama’s use of metaphors in his political speeches, arguing that, as a political speaker, Mahama uses metaphor in a conscious, consistent, and conceptually structured manner that projects his ideological stance on issues of politics and governance. The study reveals that Mahama draws on many conventional metaphors but uses them in creative and unconventional ways to depict culturally relevant situations, and to convey his political ideologies to his audience. The findings in this study do not only contribute towards a better understanding of Mahama’s communicative style, but also foreground the persuasive potential of metaphor for audience engagement in political discourse.
Keywords: Metaphor, Political Speeches, John Mahama, Cognitive Rhetoric, Political Ideology, Corpus- Based Analysis.
Ahrens, K. (2019). “First Lady, Secretary of State and Presidential Candidate: A comparative study of the role- dependent use of metaphor in politics”. In: Perrez, J., Reuchamps, M., and Thibodeau, P. A. eds 2019. Variation in Political Metaphor. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Pp. 13-34.
Allen, W. (2007). “Australian political discourse: pronominal choice in campaign speeches”. In: Mary Laughren, M. and Mushin, I. eds 2007. Conference of the Australian Linguistic Society. Brisbane: Australia. Pp. 1- 13.
Anthony, L. (2005). “AntConc: a learner and classroom friendly, multi-platform corpus analysis toolkit”. In: Proceedings of IWLeL 2004: An Interactive Workshop on Language Learning. Tokyo: Waseda University. Pp. 7-13.
Beard, A. (2000). The Language of Politics. Routledge: London.
Berber Sardinha, T. (2012). “An assessment of metaphor retrieval methods”. In: MacArthur. F., Oncins-Martínez, J.L., Sànchez-García, M. and Piquer-Píriz., A. M. eds 2012. Metaphor in Use: Context, Culture, and Communication. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Pp. 21-50.
Boussofara-Omar, N. (2006). “Learning the linguistic habitus of a politician: A presidential authoritative voice in the making”. Journal of Language and Politics, 5(3), 325-358.
Burgers, C., Ahrens, K. (2020). “Change in metaphorical framing: metaphors of TRADE in 225 years of State of Union Addresses”. Applied Linguistics, 41(2), 260-279.
Cameron, L. and Low, G. eds (1999). Researching and Applying Metaphor. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Cameron, L. (1999). “Identifying and describing metaphor in spoken discourse data”. In: Cameron, L. and Low, G. eds 1999. Researching and Applying Metaphor. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Pp. 105-132.
Cameron, L. (2003). Metaphor and Educational Discourse. Continuum: London.
Charteris-Black, J. (2011). Politicians and Rhetoric: The Persuasive Power of Metaphor. Basingstoke: Palgrave-MacMillan.
Charteris-Black, J. (2014). Analysing Political Speeches: Rhetoric, Discourse and Metaphor. Basingstoke:Palgrave-MacMillan.
Chilton, P. (2004). Analysing Political Discourse: Theory and Practice. Routledge: London. Collins Cobuild Advanced Dictionary of English (7th Edition).
Cox, J. (2012). “Politics in motion: Barack Obama’s use of movement metaphors”. American Communication Journal, 14(2), 1-13.
Demmen, J., Semino, E., Demjén, Z., Koller, V. Hardie, A., Rayson, R. and Payne, S. (2015). “A computer-assisted study of the use of violent metaphors for cancer and end of life for patients, family carers and health professionals”. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, 20(2), 205-231.
Díaz-Peralta, M. (2018). “Metaphor and ideology: conceptual structure and conceptual content in Spanish political discourse”. Discourse and Communication, 12(2), 128-148.
Diegnan, A. (1995). Collins Cobuild English Guides 7: Metaphors. London: Harper Collins Publisher. Diegnan, A. (2005). Metaphor and Corpus Linguistics. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Flѳttum, K. and Stenvoll, D. (2009). “Blair speeches in a polyphonic perspective: Nots and Buts in visions on Europe”. Journal of Language and Politics, 8(2), 269-286.
Gibbs, R. W. and Franks, H. (2002). “Embodied metaphors in women’s narratives about their experiences with cancer”. Health Communication, 14(2), 139-165.
Giordano, M. (2010). “Conflict in Hillary Clinton’s political speeches: a rhetorical analysis”. French Journal of English Studies, 20, 153-165.
Klebanov, B. B., Diermeier, D. and Beigman, E. (2008). “Lexical cohesion analysis of political speech”. Political Analysis, 16, 447-463.
Koester, A. (2010). “Building small, specialised corpora”. In: O’keeffe, A. and McCarthy, M. eds 2010. The Routledge Handbook of Corpus Linguistics. London: Routledge. Pp. 66-79.
Koller, V. and Semino, E. (2009a). “Metaphor, politics and gender: a case study from Germany”. In: Ahrens, K. ed 2009a. Politics, Gender and Conceptual Metaphors. Macmillan: Palgrave. Pp. 9-35.
Semino, E. and Koller, V. (2009b). “Metaphor, politics and gender: a case study from Italy”. In: Ahrens, K. ed. 2009b. Politics, Gender and Conceptual Metaphors. Macmillan: Palgrave. Pp. 36-61.
Kövecses, Z. (2000). Metaphor and Emotion: Language, Culture, and Body in Human Feeling. Cambridge:Cambridge University Press.
Kövecses, Z. (2002). Metaphor: A Practical Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Kövecses, Z. (2005). Metaphor in Culture: Universality and Variation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Krennmayr, T. (2015). “What corpus linguistics can tell us about metaphor use in newspaper texts”. Journalism
Studies, 16(4), 530-546.
Lakoff, G. and Johnson, M. (1980). Metaphors We Live By. University of Chicago Press, Chicago. Lazaar, G. (2003). Meanings and Metaphors: Activities to Practice Figurative Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Lewis, P. (2008). “Poverty, inequality, and democracy: Growth without prosperity in Africa”. Journal ofDemocracy, 19(4), 95-109.
Low, G., Todd, Z., Deignan, A. and Cameron, L. eds 2010. Researching and Applying Metaphor in the Real
World. Amsterdam: John Benjamin.
Mazid, B. M. (2007). “Presuppositions and strategic functions in Bush’s 20/9/2001 speech: A critical discourse
analysis”. Journal of Language and Politics, 6(3), 351-375.
Mio, J., Scott, R., Ronald, E., Levin, S. and Reese, R. (2015). “Presidential leadership and charisma: the effects of metaphor”. The Leadership Quarterly, 16(2), 287-294.
Moreno, M. A. (2008). Metaphors in Hugo Chávez’s Political Discourse: Conceptualizing Nation, Revolution and Opposition. Unpublished PhD thesis. The City University of New York.
Mussolf, A. (2017). “Metaphor and persuasion in politics”. In: Semino, E.and Zsòfia, D. eds 2017. The Routledge Handbook of Language and Metaphor. New York: Routledge. Pp. 309-322.
Neagu, M. (2013). Decoding Political Discourse: Conceptual Metaphors and Argumentation. Basingstoke: Palgrave-MacMillan.
Pietrucci, P. (2012). “Strategic maneuvering through shifting ideographs in political discourse: a rhetorical analysis of Silvio Berlusconi’s first Liberation Day speech”. Journal of Argumentation in Context, 1(3), 291-311.
Pragglejaz Group. (2007). “MIP: a method for identifying metaphorically used words in discourse”. Metaphor and Symbol, 22, 1-33.
Reyes, A. (2014). “Bush, Obama: (In)formality as persuasion in political discourse”. Journal of Language and Politics, 13(3), 538-562.
Stefanowitsch, A. (2006). “Words and their metaphors: a corpus-based approach”. In: Stefanowitsch, A. and Gries. Th. S. eds 2006. Corpus-Based Approach to Metaphor and Metonymy. Berlin: de Gruyter. Pp. 63-105. Savoy, J. (2010). “Lexical analysis of US political speeches”. Journal of Quantitative Linguistics. 17(2), 123-141.
Semino, E. and Masci, M. (1996). “Politics is football: metaphor in the discourse of Silvio Berlusconi in Italy”. Discourse and Society, 72, 243-269.
Semino, E. (2008). Metaphor in Discourse. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Semino, E. (2017). “Corpus linguistics and metaphor”. In: Dancygier, B. ed 2017. The Cambridge Handbook of Cognitive Linguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Pp. 463-476.
Sontag, S. (1979). Illness as Metaphor. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
Steen, G. J. (2002). “Towards a procedure for metaphor identification”. Language and Literature, 11, 17-33. Steen, G. J. (2007). “Finding Metaphor in Grammar and Usage”. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Steen, G. J., Dorst, A. G., Herrmann, J. B., Kaal, A. A., Krennmayr, T. and Pasma, T. (2010). A Method for Linguistic Metaphor Identification. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Thompson, S. (1996). “Politics without metaphor is like a fish without water”. In: Mio, S. and Katz, A. N. eds 1996. Metaphor: Implications and applications. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Pp. 185-202.
van Dijk, T. A. (2006). “Ideology and discourse analysis”. Journal of Political Ideologies, 11(2), 115-140.
Walter, J. and Helmig, J. (2008). “Discursive metaphor analysis: (De)construction(s) of Europe”. In: Carver, T. and Pikalo, J. eds 2008. Political Language and Metaphor: Interpreting and Changing the World. London: Routledge. Pp. 119-139.