One of the key-metaphor complexes in conceptualizing national identity is that of the nation as a body or a person. It has had a long intellectual history and still figures in present-day international political discourses. But is it therefore also universally and/or uniformly understood? Evidence from an international metaphor interpretation survey conducted in 30 countries suggests that the elicited interpretations share basic common features but also vary in relation to culture- and/or nation-specific discourse traditions. To capture these aspects, we introduce the analytical tool of “scenario analysis” and compare four L1-based samples of survey data that show characteristic differences between interpretation trends. As a result, we argue in favour of a stronger recognition of culture-specific and pragmatic aspects in metaphor understanding.
- Cross-cultural pragmatics
- Universal vs. relative