Metaphors for the Nation: Conceptualization of Its BODY and/or PERSON

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


One of the key-complexes for conceptualizing national identity is that of the metaphor of the nation as a body or a person. Such nation-embodiment and -personalization have a long conceptual history in English-speaking cultures and still figure in present-day political discourse. However, do metaphor users from different cultures understand such metaphors in the same way as English-L1-speakers? Empirical evidence from an intercultural metaphor interpretation survey conducted in English-as-lingua franca provides evidence of variation in Nation-embodiment and-personalization on the reception-side. Five scenarios of interpretive conceptualization can be identified, which are variably distributed across different national/linguistic cohorts: nation as body, as geobody, as part of a larger body, as part of ego’s body and as a person. This chapter focuses on comparing such scenarios across the English-L1 and Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese)-L1 cohorts. The results show differences in scenario distribution, as well as in the use of irony and humor and of topical references to socio-economic and political developments or national stereotypes. In conclusion, we discuss how these differences are related to culture-specific discourse traditions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCultural Conceptualizations in Language and Communication
EditorsBarbara Lewandowska-Tomaszczyk
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-42734-4
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-42733-7
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jun 2020

Publication series

NameSecond Language Learning and Teaching
ISSN (Electronic)2193-7648


  • Embodiment
  • English as lingua franca
  • English-L1
  • Metaphor
  • National identity
  • Scenario
  • Survey

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