'Battered hero' or 'innocent victim'? A comparative study of metaphors for euro trading

Jonathan Charteris-Black, Andreas Musolff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

105 Citations (Scopus)


This is a corpus based study that compares the use of metaphor in the reporting of the euro in the English and German financial press during a period of turbulent financial trading. While the approach to metaphor is broadly cognitive linguistic, metaphors are identified using two criteria: a broad semantic one that includes cases of reification and personification and a narrow one in which metaphor is treated as pragmatically motivated. This is when the use of a word or phrase is determined by the need to persuade the reader. Metaphors that describe euro trading in terms of (1) up/down movement and (2) health, characterise financial reporting in both English and German. However, English reporting also employs many combat metaphors in which the euro is an active agent. This is represented by a conceptual metaphor: EURO TRADING IS COMBAT. However, German reporting characterises the euro as a passive beneficiary of the actions of institutional bodies (banks and governments). The pragmatic approach to metaphor highlights the rhetorical importance of metaphors because they influence opinions. It is important for ESP learners to be aware of the cognitive and pragmatics differences in the purposes to which metaphors can be put.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-176
Number of pages24
JournalEnglish for Special Purposes
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2003

Cite this