AWEJ Volume.5 Number.1, 2014                                                                   Pp.277- 289

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Metaphor in Political and Literary Texts: A Pragmatic Analysis


Sattar Hussein Abbood
University of Baghdad,  College of Languages, Iraq

 Sabah Sleibi Mustafa
University of Baghdad, College of Languages, Iraq



This paper seeks to compare the pragmatic use of English metaphor in political texts with the one that is used in literary texts in order to find out the similarities and differences manifested in both texts. It also tries to combine the three most well known views of metaphor, namely: the cognitive view, the semantic view and the pragmatic view. To this end, the paper analyses some examples of metaphor taken from political speeches addressed by the last three American Presidents [Bill Clinton (1993), George W. Bush (2001) and Barrack Obama (2008) and (2009) (] and two short stories written by two American authors in 2004: (A) “The Secret Goldfish” by David Means (B) “Bohemians” by George Saunders. All the texts are provided in an appendix and each example mentioned in the analysis has a reference to the text number and paragraph number in which it has been cited. The results show that there are many differences in the use of metaphor in both texts. The main difference is that political texts often tend to use metaphor with a positive attitude using some concepts associated with a positive meaning, whereas literary texts often tend to use metaphors with a negative attitude using some concepts associated with negative meaning. The results also show that the main function of metaphors in political texts is ‘persuading’ while the main function of metaphors in literary texts is ‘adding aesthetic effects’.
KeywordsMetaphor, Conceptual Theory of Metaphor, political language, literary language, and comparison.


Dr. Sabah Sleibi Mustafa is a professor of Linguistics and translation and is
currently Head of the Department of English at the College of Languages,
University of Baghdad-Iraq. His main areas of interest are translation, syntax,
morphology, and language teaching. He is also an editor of the advisory board of
the Arab World English Journal