COVID-19 Metaphoric Blends in Media Discourse




conceptual metaphor, conceptual integration network, COVID-19, mapping, media discourse


The study aims at describing COVID-19 metaphorical representations in media discourse. The analysis of conceptual metaphors in political and medical discourse enables a reconstruction of metaphorically based knowledge of coronavirus in English speech communities. Being produced by world political leaders and media presenters these conceptual metaphors influence the social
understanding of the novel disease both directly and indirectly. The study is based on the Conceptual Metaphor theory, Conceptual Integration theory and Discourse analysis. The range of the target domain COVID-19 includes the following source domains: WAR and PERSON. The latter is further elaborated as GUEST, INTRUDER, ENEMY, CRIMINAL, SPY, TEACHER. The focus is on the cross-space mappings which present the sets of systematic correspondences between the target and source domains. The novel conceptualisations based on the conventional use of metaphoric patterns are analysed within the framework of the following cognitive devices: extending, elaboration, questioning, and combining. The conceptual blends and emergent structures that provide additional layers of COVID-19 interpretation are represented by means of Conceptual Integration Networks, namely, double- and multiple-scope models. The analysis reveals that the conceptual metaphor COVID-19 PANDEMIC IS WAR is mostly
represented in political discourse that refers to the disease as a general threat to the world. In medical discourse the metaphor COVID-19 IS PERSON is objectified, with further elaboration of the source domain. The correlation COVID-19 IS TEACHER reveals positive connotations of the phenomenon.