Metaphor as a (de-)legitimizing strategy in leadership discourse : The language of crisis in Winston Churchill’s Cold War speeches


SEBERA Jan LU Wei-lun

Year of publication 2018
Type Chapter of a book
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description This chapter investigates Churchill’s Cold War speeches as a case of how cognitive and corpus linguistics may serve as a useful tool for analyzing how political leaders legitimize their agendas via linguistic means. We find that Churchill’s rhetoric makes extensive use of the source domains person, journey, and building. The argumentative purpose is at least twofold. First, journey and building metaphors give positive value to the country’s prospects. Second, the journey metaphor is found to co-occur with personification, with the purpose of seeking partnership between the United States and the United Kingdom. We conclude by discussing how political leaders linguistically represent and conceptually frame a crisis, especially via metaphorical means, convincing their people of the usefulness of certain proposals and thus legitimizing their agendas, with Churchill as a representative example.
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