Language and Politics: Metaphors as Linguistic Strategies in the Political Corruption Issue in Taiwan

Lin, Cheng-wen

The University of York, United Kingdom


It has generally been held that metaphors have significant rhetorical uses in political communication. In particular, studies have increasingly centred on the use of metaphor in politics, since Lakoff and Johnson’s (1980) seminal work provides an account of metaphor which can contribute to the construction and comprehension of social and political reality. In election campaigns, politicians use metaphors to evoke emotions, reinforce specific platform, attack opponents, and manipulate the electorate (Beer & De Landtsheer 2004; Wilson 1990). In this respect, this study is concerned with how politicians manage metaphors in current Taiwanese political discourse, focusing on the issue with particular reference to political corruption, especially so-called “black- gold politics” (money politics or the connection between criminals with money and politicians) during the 2004 presidential election campaign in Taiwan. The aim of this study is to address the following questions: (1) What are the metaphors that are deployed by politicians during the 2004 presidential election campaign in Taiwan? (2) What are the functions of these metaphors? (3) How do these metaphors work to help communicate effectively? (4) How do politicians respond to their opponents’ metaphors, especially for discussing contentious political issues? Finally, by examining the linguistic strategies, the analysis is intended to help better comprehend political communication and the sociopolitical context in current Taiwan society.


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Session: Paper session
Legal / (Public) Communication
Saturday, April 5, 2008, 09:00-10:30
room: 18