How visual metaphors contradict verbal occurrences: a cross-linguistic and multimodal analysis of the IMPRINT of climate change.

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We investigate the different interpretations related to the metaphorical IMPRINT of climate change in English and French media discourses. This cross-linguistic
perspective is motivated by the particularities of both languages which have been assumed to promote different understandings of climate change-related concepts. We focus on the metaphor CARBON FOOTPRINT whose meaning can be compared to another climate change metaphor in English: FINGERPRINT. These two source domains share a highly specific and concrete meaning interpreted from lexical constructions enabled by the English language. In French, however, such a specification cannot be interpreted from the meaning of the metaphor EMPREINTE CARBONE (CARBON IMPRINT) which defines a similar concept. We rely on visual representations of these metaphorical expressions in English and French to discuss the common knowledge associated with each source domain: we show that visual metaphors can contradict expectations emerging from the interpretations of verbal metaphors.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMetaphor and the Social World
Issue number1
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 27 Aug 2020


  • Carbon footprint
  • fingerprint
  • Climate Change
  • English
  • French
  • multimodality
  • Media

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