Last Updated 02 Apr 2020

The metaphorical language

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The metaphorical language is not unusual in the English language. It is used variedly and very often not just as a form of speech. Metaphors are a form of thought with its distinct epistemological functions. A metaphor is a direct comparison between two or more seemingly unrelated subjects. It is a description of the first subject as being or equal to the second subject in a way. The implicit and explicit attributes of the second subjects are used to enhance the second subject’s description. This form is usually used in literature to convey expressions or associations to correlate context. Used in rhetoric, metaphors are direct equation of terms that is more assertive than just simple analogy of subjects. It provides foundation for thinking, reasoning and understanding of our culture.(2006)

Metaphor is greatly used in comprising ordinary concepts, motivating semantic change and meaning of linguistic expressions and in a way influencing people to make sense of the true meanings of words. Ordinary concepts are explained through mentioning their similarities and differences against one another. Semantic change can be brought forth by metaphors used properly and metaphors used greatly enhance how meanings are given to words and concepts.  Using metaphors allows writers and people in general to convey ideas that are creatively put in a way and that is easier to understand that just using the literal language. Metaphors are directly stated and can help capture the true essence between two subjects’ distinctiveness. Metaphors not only perform its functions in literary writing, it also has social functions.

The use of metaphors reinforces the connection between speaker and listeners. We realize that the popularity of the use of metaphors is due to the fact that people use and understand them. There is an instant connection between speakers and listeners if a metaphorical expression is used because most metaphors are commonly used.  Metaphors are often used by philosophers like Plato in their arguments and speeches to convey ideas and expressions. Metaphors help them explains these concepts more to their listeners, even at time enhance the meanings in the concepts they use. It also gives other people the individual approach and beliefs of each one of us. Metaphors are consistently used in political reasoning and justification of foreign policies.

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Given the said quotation by Richard Gibbs in 1994, we will evaluate the use of metaphors in politics. How metaphors are used, what metaphors are used, and what are the meanings and implications of these metaphors. This exploration of the usage of metaphors will help us understand why metaphors are great influence in our lives. They are not only used as a language and as words to express, but also have meaning which holds significant importance to each of us. Often times, metaphors are used because it is better and easier to understand them than the literal form of language used. This happens when people realize the association between the concepts. This strengthens how the words and concepts are used by people.

In recent political language, metaphors are clearly seen used frequently by people. An election campaign, for example, is referred to as a war or race of candidate vying for a certain position in the government. Other metaphors used in politics constantly change with time and location, and several meaning can be diverse due to certain persons’ understanding of the concrete metaphor. An example of metaphors used in government language is nanny politics. This is referred to as laws and bills characterize as a protection for the masses against bad entrepreneurs according to critics. Consumer protection laws are coined as mommy politics, laws that outlaws anything that is dangerous for anyone no matter where they are. These understanding are criticisms often addressed in metaphors. (2006)

Metaphors according to Gibbs are also the link used between a concept and the bodily experience.(Miyakoshi 2006) The difference between embodied metaphor and abstraction from experience is distinguishable from the rise of metaphors from reality. The concepts are from the experiences of the individual; in this case, metaphors of politics are derived from observations of the people regarding how the reality in politics works. In a study conducted by Vervaeke and Kennedy in 1996 draws their analysis on several metaphors with regards to a study also done by Lakoff and Johnson in 1980.

They both presented a broad range of interpretations of the metaphors used not only in politics but also other areas as well. In political context, for example, the statement “argument is war” can be interpreted in various ways. The researchers concluded that whenever the words “maneuver”, “strategy” or “defend” are used, any of which are used as metaphors for the other words as well. The intentions of these metaphors are to express the underlying concepts of either a war, athletic competition or a game.(Ritchie 2004) The history regarding depicting metaphors as important speech forms in society had been part of Lakoff and Johnson researches done in 1980. The study regarding metaphors had concluded a lot of observations that Richard Gibbs agrees to as well.

War and race is very much used in the metaphors used in politics. The metaphors used in politics are greatly seen as correlated with observations regarding how the political system works. This enables people to derive their interpretation of the metaphors. Evaluating the quote regarding politics using metaphors used in war and sports is due to the observations of people on politics being confrontations. It may also be because people see politics like events seen in war and in sports. In sports, people compete, challenge one another, win and lose. This is also seen in politics. This presents a strong relationship between the two subjects and entities to be compared to one another. In war, there is also the fact of losing and winning a war, the defeat and the triumph is also experienced in politics. There are many contributing factors as to why these three subjects are interrelated often times. Metaphors are one way to express the similarities observed by people with the subjects concerned.

Metaphors are strongly and often used in politics to address an idea and expression. The language is simple, often times very understandable by people. The meanings for these metaphors can greatly change over time and place, whether it may be negative or a positive attribution of the subjects. Through metaphors, words can be played creatively with meanings still discernable. The effectiveness of the metaphors can be gauged by how the meanings still remain after the attribution done with different concepts. Meanings are in people. A cohesive meaning attributed to a specific metaphor is effective in expressing in another way the concepts in politics.

(2006). "metaphors."   Retrieved october 22, 2006, from

(2006). "metaphors."   Retrieved october 22, 2006, from

Miyakoshi, R. R. a. K. (2006) Eighth Speaker: Raymond Gibbs

Questions and Answer.  Volume, 1 DOI:

Ritchie, L. D. (2004). "Lost in “Conceptual Space”:

Metaphors of Conceptual Integration."


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