War as source and target: a comprehensive approach to war metaphors


Małgorzata Fabiszak (Poznań)


The cognitive scene today seems to be dominated by two complementary approaches: Cognitive Metaphor Theory (Lakoff 1987, and Johnson 1987) and Blending Theory (Fauconnier 1997, Fauconier and Turner 2002). As suggested by Grady et al. (1999) and Coulson (2001) these two theories may be considered complementary in so far as CMT focuses on established, integrated in the long-term memory and directional mappings between usually two input spaces (source and target, tenor and vehicle, etc.), whereas BT concentrates on on-line meaning construction in the act of communication; the mappings can occur between a number of spaces (often as many as four), they may be multidirectional and operate in short term memory.


The aim of the present paper is to analyse the domain of the concept of ‘war’ as used in English language mass media discourse. The data source will be drawn from a British daily: Guardian and n American monthly: National Geographic. The analysis will be conducted within two different approaches: CMT and BT. The purpose of the study is two-fold. The first part will try to answer the question what elements are mapped from source to target, as well as what elements create the generic space and what is the emergent structure of the blend. It is expected that the mappings, the input spaces and the blends will differ depending on the fact if ‘war’ is the source or the target. The identification of these differences should allow us to hypothesise about the more general processes underlying the elaboration of war metaphors. The second part will consider the use of blending in the framing of social discourse (Schoen 1993, Gibbs 1999, Coulson 2001). It is expected to show to what degree authors of newspaper articles rely on conventional metaphors and when they explore novel uses of established metaphors as well as novel metaphors in the creation of meaning. This part of research will also focus on those structures which employ the domain of ‘war’ as one of the input spaces.




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