Coercive metaphors in news headlines: a cognitive-pragmatic approach

Zdrojový dokument: Brno studies in English. 2014, roč. 40, č. 1, s. [149]-173
  • ISSN
    0524-6881 (print)
    1805-0867 (online)
Type: Článek
Licence: Neurčená licence
This article explores the application of metaphors in news headlines with a view to interrogating their potential for coercion. Coercion in news discourse is understood as a strategic deployment of pragma-linguistic devices, including metaphors, to foreground the representations of socio-political reality that are compatible with the interests of the news outlet rather than those that inform public debate. It is argued that coercion can be exposed through systematic discourse analysis. Methodologically, the study aims to integrate the cognitive and pragmatic approaches to metaphor in regarding it as both a conceptual building block of news representations and a strategic framing device in news discourse. A quantitative and qualitative analysis of a sample of metaphors excerpted from a corpus of 400 most-read headlines from one of the most visited English-language newspaper sites The Daily Mail is conducted to illustrate such coercive applications of metaphor as simplification, imaging, animalization, confrontation, (de)legitimization, emotionalization, and dramatization. In the course of the analysis it is demonstrated how certain ideologically-biased representations can be coerced through figurative language.
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