Researching political metaphor cross-culturally: English, Hungarian, Greek and Turkish L1-based interpretations of the Nation as Body metaphor

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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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-131
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Pragmatics
Early online date30 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021


  • Cross-cultural pragmatics
  • Irony
  • Metaphor
  • Metonymy
  • Universal vs. relative
  • Variation

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