I. speech, a metaphor is a matter of


According to Fairclough (1989), “discourse has effects
upon social structures, as well as being determined by them and so contributes
to social continuity and social change” (p. 14). This means that a speech or a piece
of writing may have a great influence on society, as well as it can reflect the
situation that the society is in at the time of the speech being given or
express the ideology of the speaker. In the present paper, we are going to
focus on one particular part of the discourse – metaphors. The aim is to
analyse metaphors that are expressed in public speeches by influential figures,
more specifically, in presidents’ George Washington and Donald Trump first
inaugural speeches. When expressed in a public political speech, a metaphor is a matter of critical discourse analysis;
therefore, the theoretical part of the present paper is going to be dedicated
to the further explanation of this field, as well as to literature review of

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Critical discourse analysis (or CDA) is an approach to
the study of discourse that regards language as a form of social practice. We
use the CDA in order to analyse various political speeches or any other types
of speech that may be used to manipulate the audience
and to highlight the rhetoric behind these speeches. CDA should not be regarded
as a separate direction, specialization or school, as it only seeks to offer a new
perspective of theorizing and analysis throughout the whole field of discourse

In order to realize the aims of critical discourse
analysis effectively, critical research on discourse needs to comply with a
number of requirements. As suggested by Van Dijk (1980), the requirements are the

order to be recognized, CDA research has to be better than other research.

focuses on political problems and social issues.

be more specific, CDA focuses on the ways discourse structures enact, confirm,
legitimate, reproduce or challenge relations of power and dominance in society.

adequate critical analysis usually involves different subjects of study;

does not end with describing structures of discourse; it tries to explain these
structures in terms of properties of social interaction and especially social
structure (Van Dijk, 1980).

As summarized by Fairclough and Wodak (1997), the main
tenets of critical discourse analysis state that:

discourse analysis gives attention to social problems;

relations are discursive;

forms culture and society;

performs ideological work;

is related to studies of history;

relation between discourse and society is mediated;

analysis provides explanations and interpretations;

is a type of social action (Fairclough & Wodak, 1997).



A central notion in most critical work on discourse is
the social power of groups or
institutions. Van Dijk (1980) explains that groups have more or less power if
they are able to control the acts and minds of members of other groups. According
to the various resources employed to exercise such power, different types of
power may be distinguished. E.g., the coercive power of the military and
violent men will rather be based on force; money will give the power to the
rich, whereas knowledge, information, or authority is the more or less
persuasive power of parents, professors, or journalists. While most people have
active control only over everyday talk with family members, friends, or
colleagues, members of social groups and institutions that are more powerful have
exclusive control over one or more types of public discourse. E.g., professors have
control over scholarly discourse, and lawyers are able to control legal
discourse, journalists control media discourse, while policy and other
political discourse are in control of politicians.
By that definition, the ones who have more control over more discourse also
have more power.



As the present paper deals with inaugural speeches of
two presidents of the United States of America, i.e. political discourse,
political discourse analysis (PDA) is to be defined further.

Critical discourse analysis practitioners see the
analysis of political discourse as an essentially critical enterprise. Fairclough
(2012) observes that PDA is therefore understood as the analysis of political
discourse from a critical perspective, a perspective that focuses on the
reproduction and contestation of political power through political discourse.
PDA can have a lot to offer to political science and can contribute to
answering genuine political questions, but only if it focuses on features of discourse
which are relevant to the purpose or function of the political process or event
whose discursive dimension is being analysed. Focusing on the structure of
argumentation in a political speech is relevant in precisely this sense, as the
purpose of the speech may be to man an audience believe that a certain course
of action is right or a certain point of view is true. This is the intended
perlocutionary effect, which is intrinsically associated with the speech act of
argumentation. Likewise, being able to analyse the structure of a practical
argument is indispensable to be able to
evaluate it critically in a systematic, rigorous manner, something that
political scientists would also want to do. Understanding the argumentative
nature of political texts is, therefore, the key to being able to evaluate the
political strategies they are a part of.

The political discourses that will be further analysed
in the present paper are the first inaugural speeches from two presidents of
the United States of America, who represent two different periods of time –
George Washington (presidency period April 30, 1789 – March 4, 1797) and Donald
Trump (the current president of the country, inaugurated on January 20, 2017). In
the preceding discourse analysis, we will
analyse the metaphors that each of the presidents used, however, before we
commence the analysis, we first have to define and explain the concept of a
metaphor. Hence, the following chapters of the literature review will be
dedicated to the theory on metaphors.


A popular view – the most common conception of
metaphor, both in scholarly circles and in the popular mind – is introduced by Kövecses
(2010) who states that, “A metaphor is a
figure of speech in which one thing is compared with another by saying that one
is the other,” (p. 10) as in It’s just a house of cards. Alternatively, the
Cambridge Dictionary defines it as “an expression, often found in literature,
that describes a person or object by referring to something that is considered
to have similar characteristics to that person or object”. Let us take for
example the phrase house of cards. It would be considered a metaphor in the following
context: “Katie’s plan to get into
college was a house of cards.” We
could also claim that the phrase is used metaphorically in order to achieve the
artistic and rhetorical effect since we
speak and write metaphorically to impress others with embellished, rich
language and aesthetically pleasing words, or to express deep emotions. Kövecses
(2010) indicates that a speaker would also add a certain quality that makes the
metaphorical identification possible, i.e. something that both of the entities
that are being compared have in common. In case of the previous example, Katie’s plans and a house of cards would both share the same quality of fragility. Kövecses
(2010) names five of the most commonly accepted qualities that the traditional
concept can be characterized by. 1) A metaphor is a linguistic phenomenon, it is a
property of words; 2) metaphor is used
for some artistic and rhetorical purpose, such as when Shakespeare writes, “All
the world’s a stage”; 3) metaphor is based on similarities between the two
entities that are compared. Plans
must share some features with a house of
cards in order for us to be able to use the phrase a house of cards as a metaphor for plans; 4) metaphor is a conscious use of words, and the user of it
must have a special talent to be able to do it well. Only great poets like
Shakespeare or powerful speakers like Churchill
can master it; 5) it is also commonly held that a metaphor is a figure of
speech that we can do without. We only use metaphors as special effects to
embellish our language; hence, it is not a necessary part of everyday people
communication, let alone day-to-day human thought and reasoning (Kövecses, 2010).



As opposed to the most common conception of metaphor,
George Lakoff and Mark Johnson (1980) have introduced their seminal study Metaphors We Live By. In this study, they have developed a new view of
metaphor, which is challenging all of the previously discussed aspects
of the powerful traditional theory in a systematic way. Their theory is now known
as the “cognitive linguistic view of metaphor.” Lakoff and Johnson (1980) challenged
the deeply entrenched conception of metaphor by saying that: 1) metaphor is not
a property of words, it is a property of concepts. 2) A metaphor is not just an
artistic and aesthetic purpose; it serves as a way
to better understand certain concepts. 3) Usually, a metaphor is not based on
similarity; 4) metaphor is used in
everyday life by ordinary people and they do it effortlessly, special talent is
not needed, and 5) metaphor is not just a
pleasing linguistic ornament, it is an inevitable process of human thought and
reasoning (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980).


linguistic expressions

Definition of a conceptual metaphor suggested by Kövecses
(2010) states that a conceptual metaphor consists of two conceptual domains, in
which one domain is understood in terms of another, i.e. conceptual domain A is conceptual domain B. According to Kövecses (2010), “A conceptual domain can be defined as any clear
organization of experience. For example, we have coherently organized knowledge
about journeys (i.e. conceptual domain A)
that we rely on in understanding life (i.e.
conceptual domain B), and the conceptual metaphor would be Life is a journey” (p. 25).

The two domains that a conceptual metaphor consists of
have special names. The conceptual domain whose qualities we use to draw
metaphorical expressions to understand another conceptual domain (previously
mentioned as the conceptual domain A) is called source domain, while the conceptual domain that is understood this
way (i.e. conceptual domain B) is the target
domain. Therefore, life, arguments,
love, theory, ideas, and others are target domains, while journeys, war, buildings, food, plants, and
others are source domains. The most basic yet convenient way to describe this
view of both target and source domain is introduced by Kövecses (2010) who says
this, “The target domain is the domain
that we try to understand through the use of the source domain” (p. 25).

We could view a conceptual metaphor as a base. A base,
in this case, is the metaphor from which a variety of metaphorical linguistic expressions can derive. We can explain a
metaphorical linguistic expression throughout the example that was already used
previously in the paper – life is a
journey. The phrase „life is a journey” is the conceptual metaphor, meanwhile, all the
expressions that are associated with life
and come from domain journey (e.g., I’m at crossroads in my life; She’ll go places in life; He’s without direction in life; etc.) are
called metaphorical linguistic expressions.

Lakoff and Johnson (1980) seek to further explain what
it could mean for a concept to be metaphorical and for such a concept to
structure an everyday activity. In order to do so, they start with the concept argument and the conceptual metaphor argument is war. This metaphor is
constantly used by speakers in their day-to-day language, incorporating a wide variety
of expressions: “He attacked every weak point in my argument; I’ve never won an argument with him; Your claims
are indefensible; I demolished his argument; Okay, shoot!; He shot down all of my arguments” (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980). Based
on the examples given, we can observe that description of an argument is not
the only purpose why we use war terms. The two sides of an argument actually
see each other as opponents; they verbally attack each other, and then try to
defend themselves by using strategies that they have planned. Many of the
actions that people perform while arguing are formed by the concept of war to a
certain extent. The actual physical battle does not take place, however, there
is a verbal battle, and it is reflected by the structure of an argument – attack,
defence, counterattack, etc. In this sense the argument is war metaphor is one that we carry out in this culture,
i.e., it structures the actions we perform in arguing. Lakoff and Johnson
(2003) also add that an argument could be
described in terms of something else, e.g. a dance. As they explain it,
“Imagine a culture where an argument is viewed as a dance, the participants are
seen as performers, and the goal is to perform in a balanced and aesthetically
pleasing way” (Lakoff & Johnson, 2003, p. 9). In a culture like the one
described in the example, the process of arguing would be completely different
from what it is now and we would not regard it as an argument, it would be viewed as a different process. That is what
it means for a metaphor, in this case, the argument is war, to shape the actions that we
perform and how we comprehend what we are doing when we argue.  Lakoff and Johnson also give another example
of conceptual metaphor – time is money, as
well as the expressions that derive from it, such as “You are wasting my time; This gadget will save you hours,” etc. From this we can see, that time is very valuable in our culture.
Given these examples, it is clear to see that by analysing conceptual metaphors
and metaphorical linguistic expressions that are used in a language, it is
rather easy to determine particular culture’s point of view regarding one or
another topic.



As observed by Kövecses (2010), there are distinct
kinds of conceptual metaphor, and metaphors can be categorized in a variety of
ways, including classifications in accordance with the conventionality, function, nature, and level of generality of metaphor. There are other means to
categorize metaphors; however, the preceding approaches play the most important
role in the cognitive linguistic view. The four ways of classification of
metaphors are to be further analysed below.

Conventionality of metaphor – the
term “conventional” is used in the
sense of well established and well entrenched, i.e. conventionality of
metaphor shows the extent to which the metaphor is worn and how deeply
entrenched it is. Conceptual metaphors, as well as metaphorical linguistic
expressions that derive from them, are considered highly conventionalized if speakers use them naturally and
effortlessly for their normal, everyday purposes when they talk about such
concepts as argument, love, social organizations, life, and so on. For example,
conceptual metaphor social organizations are plants and deriving metaphorical
linguistic expression The company is growing fast; ideas are food: I can’t digest all these facts. Theories are buildings: We have to construct a new theory. The
preceding examples are worn or even clichéd to the extent where most speakers
would not even notice that they use metaphor when they use the expression construct in connection with theories, grow in connection with a company, or digest in connection with ideas.

All metaphors can be more or less conventional and
they can be categorized in accordance with the
scale of conventionality. Highly conventional metaphors are at one end of the
scale, meanwhile, highly unconventional
ones are at the opposite end of it. E.g., (1)
He had a head start in life and (2)
roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less travelled by,
and that has made all the difference. Both of these examples are linguistic
metaphors that manifest the same conceptual metaphor life is a journey. While
the example (1) is widely used in
English language, example (2) employs
linguistic expressions from the journey
domain that have not been conventionalized for speakers of English; “two roads diverged” and “I took the one road less travelled by”
are not worn out, clichéd linguistic expressions to talk about life, i.e. they
are highly unconventional.

The Cognitive Function of Metaphor – the cognitive function of metaphor is the function
that a metaphor performs for ordinary people in thinking about and seeing the world.
Conceptual metaphors are categorized in
accordance with the cognitive functions that they execute, there has been
distinguished three general kinds of conceptual metaphor: structural, ontological, and

Structural – in this kind of metaphor, the source domain provides
a relatively rich knowledge structure for the target concept. I.e., the
cognitive function of these metaphors is to allow speakers to understand target
(a) by means of the structure of
source (b). E.g., The time (a) is motion (b). By comparing time
with the motion, speakers observe that
time can pass, stop, come, fly by, etc.
I.e., speakers are provided with knowledge about the target (time).

Ontological – Ontology is a branch of philosophy that has to do
with the nature of existence. Ontological
metaphors give a new ontological status to general categories of abstract
target concepts and bring about new
abstract entities. It means that we imagine our experiences in terms of objects
in general, without specifying exactly what kind of object is meant. For
example, we do not really know what the mind
is, but we conceive of it as an object, this way we can attempt to understand
more about it. Another example is a computer,
that is not a human being, however, it is given human-like qualities such as dying, working, etc. Personifying
nonhumans objects as humans, helps us understand them a little better.

Orientational – orientational metaphors perform a cognitive task
which is to make a set of target concepts coherent, most metaphors that serve
this function have to do with basic human spatial orientations, such as
up-down, centre-periphery, and the like. “Coherence” simply means that certain
target concepts tend to be conceptualized in a uniform manner. E.g., the
following concept is characterized by an “upward” orientation, while their
“opposite” receives a “downward” orientation. More is up; less is down: Speak up,
please; Keep your voice down,

The Nature of Metaphor –
metaphors may be based on knowledge and image. In knowledge-based metaphors,
basic knowledge structures constituted by some basic elements are mapped from a
source to a target, as it has already been analysed in the present paper. In image-schema metaphor, another kind of conceptual
metaphor, it is not conceptual elements of knowledge that are mapped from a
source to a target, but conceptual elements of image-schemas. Let us take the
following examples with the word out:
pass out; space out; zone out; tune out;
veg out; conk out; rub out; snuff out; out of order; be out of something. These
phrases have to do with events and states such as losing consciousness, lack of
attention, something breaking down, death, and absence of something. All of
them indicate a negative state of affairs. More importantly, they map
relatively little from source to target. As the name implies, metaphors of this
kind have source domains that have the most basic image-schemas, such as the
one associated with “out”. These basic image-schemas derive from our interactions
with the world: we explore physical objects by contact with them; we move
around the world; we experience physical forces affecting us; and we try to
resist these forces, such as when we walk against the wind. Interactions such
as these occur repeatedly in human experience. These basic physical experiences
give rise to what are called image-schemas, and the image-schemas structure
many of our abstract concepts metaphorically.

Levels of Generality of Metaphor – conceptual metaphors can be categorized in accordance with the level
of generality at which they are found. They can be generic-level or specific-level
ones. Examples of specific-level metaphors are life is a journey, an argument is a war,
ideas are food, and so on. Life,
journey, argument, war, ideas, and food are specific-level
concepts. Schematic structures underlying them are filled in a detailed
way. Meanwhile, concepts such as events,
actions, generic, and specific are all generic-level
concepts. Only minimal number of properties defines them, hence we could say
that they are characterized by extremely skeletal structures. For example, in
the case of events, an entity experiences
some kind of modification influenced by some external force. There is a variety
of event kinds: burning, inflation, freezing,
the wind blowing loving, getting sick, dying, and more. All of them are instances
of the generic concept of the event.