Conceptual Metaphors in Gordon Brown’s Political Discourse (2007–2008)

Vilma Linkevičiūtė


In modern democratic societies, political life is embodied through the actions of political parties, their duly elected leaders, and various political ideologies. In this context, political discourse, which records a variety of opinions and, frequently, their conflict, becomes an inseparable element of political culture.

This article is aimed to identify linguistic metaphors and to reconstruct the conceptual metaphors which determine the origin of these linguistic metaphors in Gordon Brown’s political discourse. This study presents and examines conceptual metaphors and the identification of metaphorical expressions in Brown’s political texts. The majority of metaphorical expressions forms a particular system, which can be explained through their relations to conceptual metaphors—cognitive structures, existing in the sub-conscious, that determine the interpretation of the world and unfold through linguistic metaphorics.

In Brown’s political discourse, the implied we–they opposition is actualized through metaphors. His political discourse, touches on two main political subjects—the Labour Party and the Conservatives. The denominations of these subjects are ideological in nature. The Prime Minister, on the base of the we–they model, attributes only positive features to the Labour Party and only negative ones to the Conservatives. The conceptual metaphors POLITICS IS WAR, POLITICS IS A JOURNEY and THE STATE IS A BUILDING prevail in Brown’s political discourse. These conceptual metaphors are generally typical of political discourse. Conceptual metaphors, which are the basis for text creation through linguistic metaphors, allow the features of a good leader to be attributed to Brown’s personality. His opponents are implicitly granted bad characteristics.



cognitive linguistics; political discourse; conflict communication; linguistic metaphors; conceptual metaphors

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Print ISSN: 1648-2824
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