Volume 4, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2210-4070
  • E-ISSN: 2210-4097
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Metaphors are ubiquitous in our daily lives and discourse, and as cognitive linguists and sociolinguists argue, language, culture and cognition are inseparable: embodied experience is not the only basis of meaning construction. Economic discourse, the focus of this paper, is a prime example of metaphors at work. Although there have been studies comparing conceptual metaphors such as the economy is a living organism in different languages, so far very little work has been done on the relationship between socio-cultural factors and the bodily movement metaphors which manifest in this overarching metaphor in economic discourse. This paper therefore examines two corpora consisting of economic news articles in “The Guardian” (UK) and the “Hong Kong Economic Journal” from the year 2006, in order to compare and contrast the way that these bodily movement metaphors constitute and reflect the attitudes and values of the people using the metaphor in these two locations. In so doing, the contrastive study demonstrates that many ‘universal’ conceptual metaphors, such as the metaphor studied in this paper, are indeed different, since the formation of embodied experience needs to be understood in its socio-cultural context. This paper compares collocations and syntactic structures of bodily movement metaphors. Although many primary metaphors, such as down is bad and forward is good, are shared across these two corpora, the findings reveal that the conceptualization of the economy in the two corpora differs mainly in three ways. Firstly, construal of the economy in the UKGC appears to be more dynamic. Secondly, the metaphorical extension of bodily movements is found to be different in the two corpora. Finally, ‘kinship’ metaphors conceptualizing economic relationships in the UKGC are more likely to trigger marriage imagery. In short, these subtle differences reveal that cognition is situated within a wide cultural context, resulting in culture-specific metaphors.


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