Metaphorical conceptualisation of Covid-19 in parliamentary discourse: A corpus-assisted study

Kwabena Sarfo Sarfo-Kantankah[1], Ebenezer Agbaglo [2], and Frank Mensah, Jr.[3]

[1]  Associate Professor, Department of English, University of Cape Coast, Ghana, 0000-0001-5662-2886,

[2]  Demonstrator, Department of English, University of Cape Coast, Ghana, 0000-0002-4720-0662,

[3]  Demonstrator, Department of English, University of Cape Coast, Ghana,


Ever since the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, several parliaments around the world have had to completely or partially close down, yet parliaments perform key roles in fashioning out laws and policies for the fight against the disease. To this end, the views of parliamentarians about the pandemic and its related issues are crucial for legislation and control of the disease, yet studies have hardly examined the views and the discourses of parliamentarians around the Covid-19 pandemic. Employing a corpus-assisted methodological approach and conceptual metaphor theory, this study examines the discourses of Ghanaian parliamentarians around the disease in order to explore how the parliamentarians metaphorically construct the pandemic. The study finds that the Covid-19 pandemic is metaphorically constructed as an enemy and the fight against it construed as war. Being a war, it entails several constituent elements without which the war will be unsuccessful, including the soldiers of the war (medical workers, frontline workers, government, parliament), who need weapons (medical tools, personal protective equipment, vaccine) to battle Covid-19 on the battlefield (Ghana, hospitals, treatment centres) to avoid/reduce the number of casualties/victims (Ghanaians, economy, society ) by putting in place certain strategies (creation of a Covid-19 fund, protocols, quarantine). The study contributes to the ongoing discourses aimed at understanding the global experiences of the Covid-19 pandemic as well as an understanding that aspects of metaphor that reflect natural kinds of experience may be universal.

Keywords: Metaphorical Conceptualisation, Covid-19, Coronavirus, Parliamentary Discourse, Corpus- Assisted Study, Metaphor of War, Metaphor of Violence


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