Metaphor As A Key Tool In The Implementation Of Intensity


The role of metaphors in the communication process is one of the major issues facing scholars dealing with discourse analysis today. Their research is important not only from theoretical but also practical point of view. The analysis of political and media discourses, which play a special role in society, is characterized by the fact that, unlike other discourse types (literary and scientific), they occur in real time and therefore generate a strong pragmatic interest. Based on scientific sources, we would like to note that political and media discourses refer to the most verbose type of discourse in the conceptual metaphor. The main purpose of the research is to analyze the metaphors used in the implementation of intensity in political and media discourses in French. Metaphor is one of the main means affecting the recipient. The use of metaphors in political and media discourses varies depending on the adresser's cognitive ability, the level of creativity of metaphorical thinking and his goals. As a result of analyzing specific language materials, it was possible to identify different groups of metaphors (medical metaphors, household metaphors, military metaphors, economic metaphors, etc.). The opinions and considerations made during the study have been explained on concrete language materials (French written press: Le Monde, Le Figaro, Le Nouvel Observateur, Le Temps, etc.).

Keywords: Discoursepolitical discoursemedia discoursemetaphorintensity


Metaphor is the most widespread method that plays an important role in the process of conceptualization in discourse and represents knowledge structures. Their cognitive features have recently become a leading topic in the discursive-cognitive paradigm. Metaphorization is a figurative thought, an integral part of scientific thinking and scientific discourse. The research of metaphor is conducted in different directions. Research on metaphor holds a central place in modern cognitive psychology. The metaphor or metaphorical use of the word, the transfer of one subject's name to another is not a language means to express only the similarities and resemblance, etc.; the metaphor is a special way of understanding.

The metaphors are used to influence the political and propaganda nature of a reader to control the public consciousness of the audience in political and media discourses. As there is a speaker who has a speech on such a dictum of interactivity, he/she tries to persuade his audience by trying to convince his audience. A speech subject is trying to influence the will or behavior of the addressee, accepting his point of view, and prefers to use appropriate metaphors here. Using the stylistic language means, a speech subject transmiting certain information about reality gains not only greater expressiveness and emotion of the text, but also persuasiveness.

Problem Statement

Intensity was firstly reviewed in speech act theory arisen in Oxford Linguistic School of Philosophy. It was founded by C. Austin, C. Serl, P. Stroson, G. Grays and others. Its various aspects are emphasized at the present definition of intents. According to Grays’ (1985) definition, intensity represents the intention of the speaker to convey information, convey a certain subjective meaning.

The purpose of the political discourse is to educate and convince the addressee of the need for "politically correct" action and / or thought. The politician must be able to penetrate the minds of the audience, that is, his or her intensity should be properly communicated to the addressee, and should be voiced with mass consciousness.It is planned to investigate the specific styles of expression of intensities in French political and media discourses by this research.

Research Questions

The subject of the research is metaphors in political and media discourses in French.

Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of the research is to analyze the metaphors used in the intensity of political and media discourses in French.

Research Methods

During the research the discursive analysis method was used.


Intensity in political and media discourses

The author of political texts often tries to influence emotions and touch moral values. The author of political discourse chooses tools (language correlations) for this reason in order to influence the addressee in terms of intensity realization.

Intensities (at the ideological level) in political discourse may relate to:

1) expression of consent (loyalty against it) with the authority;

2) expression of dissatisfaction with the authorities;

3) influence the mind of the recipient in the appropriate spirit (Lassan, 1995).

Lassan (1995) distinguishes the agonal, creating harmony, volumetric, and characteristic function of mass media discourse, which is also acceptable (available for review) for political discourse.

1. Agonal function is associated with aggression strategies, conflict formation. The adressant realizes his dominant claims in the fight against alien ideology. Options for these functions are:

а) exposing function: discretion of opponents in order to gain power. The adressant exposes the activities of his/her enemies by presenting them in a negative manner, and helps to change their attitude. As a rule, a politician uses not insult but brilliant metaphors etc. for the purpose of discretion and gains success in political confrontation;

b) the function of provocation: considers the performance of verbal or non-verbal response for provocating the addressee in his/her interests;

c) the function of protection: it is a method of survival of the addressee, directs it to another politician or strikes the critic's address to avoid criticism far from himsel/herself in order to protect from verbal aggression.

2. The function causing to harmony is linked to the implementation of a conflict resolution strategy and promotes a peaceful, harmonious relationship in the political communication process. Harmonization of communication occurs for the purpose of psychological convergence and elimination of psychological load:

а) the function of relieving the psychological burden is to relieve the addressee's tension, to divert the address of the addressee to another direction, and to address the metaphor for affecting emotions;

b) function of psychological proximity (has the the potential for invasiveness): reduces communicative distances and the formalism of metaphor communication.

The Speech Act, in its broadest sense, has several intensive levels, each of which has verbal means of expression. These levels interact with the following types of intensities:

  • attractive (intensity of attracting attention);

  • allocutive (the intention of constructing their expression correctly from the point of view of language norms);

  • informative (intensity of reflection of facts / facts about objective reality);

  • special communicative (the attitude of the speaker to the reality of the information being expressed at an informative level);

As a result of the analysis of political texts, we can say that pre-election companies have a high degree of negative intensity in France. This is related to the functions of the political discourse we mentioned above, as well as the specific features of the pre-election constituents. “The pre-election company is a militaristic metaphor based on the war model” (Abdullayev, 2013, p. 54). The following intensities are realized within this framework: intensity of persuading the sincerity of intent in relation to the fact) and freemium intensity (ethnospecific targets (historical experience and traditions) of particular manipulative intensity and manipulation, including universal emotions and needs).

Each of the levels described above has a certain manipulative potential, but the intensity of the freemium activation is the greatest manipulative force as seen in the definitions of the proposed intensive components.

Let us review one example of the realization of this intensity. Fear is the most commonly used manipulator of emotional cases (Mammadov, 2016). Fear for one's own life, fear of impossibility to meet one's basic needs, fear of alienation and misunderstanding, fear of being isolated from society or group belongs to a human. The emotional state of conflict with fear is a sense of calm and a sense of “self-confidence, the ability to provide for one's own needs” (Ismayilov, 2008; Osipova, 2005). For example: The “ trou ” (hole) in the term “ Le bouclier fiscal est désormais de troue ” stated at the newspaper «Humanité» metaphor consists of associative frames with negative emotional colors: excitement, fear and inefficiency of the action performed, instability, infertility, uncertainty. The Humanité newspaper is trying to create a picture of capital flowing by telling readers that the "tax armor" is completely ruined. Such figurative comparisons aimed at a wider community are, of course, more expressive than those in "dry" economic terms, and are clear even to people without economic education.

Role of metaphors in expressing intensities

The expression of intensities in frames of political discourse is often achieved through the conceptual metaphor (Artemyeva, 2004; Kara-Murza, 2001). This is also due to the functional nature of the political dictatorship.

Schekal (2000) distinguishes the following functions of the political discourse from the point of view of systemic intensity: 1) social control (manipulation of public consciousness); 2) Legalization of power (explanation or justification of any decision); 3) Reorganization of the power (strengthening of the system dependence); 4) orientation (view formation of political reality in the minds of the societies); 5) social solidarity (integration into societies or certain social groups); 6) social differentiation (isolation of social groups); 7) Agonal (to protest against the activities of government bodies); 8) action (activation, mobilization of supporters).

conflict . This intensity is represented by military frames, weapons, and frames of war;

[...] Dans cette bataille qui s’engage, je vais vous dire qui est mon adversaire, mon véritable adversaire. Il n’a pas de nom, pas de visage, pas de parti, il ne présentera jamais sa candidature, il ne sera donc pas élu, et pourtant il gouverne. Cet adversaire, c’est le monde de la finance… .


[...] Nous sommes ensemble, nous sommes un peuple où nous aimons nos différences, nos singularités, mais nous sommes conscients que nous sommes dans le même avenir commun, dans le même destin, et que nous avançons, là, les uns, les autres, certains plus en retard, d’autres plus en avance, mais dans la même voie du progrès et de la destinée humaine .

threat + warning .

[...] Je veux vous dire que ce sera difficile. Mais je veux vous dire que ce sera, aussi, un beau combat que nous allons livrer. Le combat ne s’arrête jamais. Ce n’est pas là celui d’une élection qui arriver. Ce sera celui, aussi, d’une transformation, d’un changement du pays .

Metaphor increases the manipulative potential of political discourse. The following groups of metaphors are often used in political manipulative communication:

1. Spatial metaphors . Due to Telia (1988), spatial coordinates are perceived in the human being as up or down, so future, and past: The manifestation of a noble beginning is marked by an adjective high (high feelings, aspirations, motives;), bad intentions are labeled as low and down (low feelings, low thoughts;). These adjectives (upper, lower) are also typical of French thinking. “ Haut ” is associated with a positive situation, but a “ bas ” (lower) is associated with a negative situation. For example: Le bonheur est vers le haut; la tristesse est vers le bas. (Happiness upper; misfortune lower). La santé et la vie sont vers le haut ; la maladie et la mort sont vers le bas. (Healthy and life upper; desease and death lower). Plus est vers le haut ; moins est vers le bas. (Positive upper; negative lower). Bon est vers le haut ; mauvais est vers le bas . (Good upper, bad lower).

2. Medical metaphors . Metaphorical models belonging to the concept of "medicine" (medical metaphors) and especially "disease" (morbial metaphors) are widely used in modern political texts (Chudinov, 2007). In this case, all kinds of political events are figuratively presented as "physical and mental illnesses, and their desire to cure them." For example, the concept of "disease recurrence" is used politically in the context as a wrong move in the following example:

Après les propos ambigus du président du Parti chrétien démocrate (PCD) sur "les lobbies sionistes", c'est "à nouveau une récidive ", a-t-elle jugé sur RTL.

Other examples:

Mais la grande confusion – entre faits et mensonges, entre journalisme et divertissement, entre nombre de clics et qualité des sources – qui gangrène les médias

Elle s'observe tout autant hors de nos frontières, où la politique étrangère de la France, phagocytée comme jamais par la bien-pensance et les intérêts d'autres puissances «amies», n'en finit plus de se fourvoyer

The medical terms used figuratively are distinguished by their high functionality. For example, thanks to the metaphorical transfer, a stable structure based on the word cœur has emerged in the au cœur de (“in the center of something, in the middle of something”).

  • Le rapport Pébereau place l’envolée de la dette au cœur du débat politique

  • Gérard Mulliez vit mon enquête comme si j’avais cassé un carreau et pénétré au cœur de son intimité ...

  • La guerre de l’information est au cœur de la doctrine militaire russe

3. Household metaphor . Sometimes the produsent-politician refers to a certain simplification of the image in order to create the necessary associations, expressing it in simple words for the "ordinary people" (for the recipient), in everyday life terms. So that, a simple image, reflecting complex problems, achieves an associative purpose and the necessary prelocutive effect. In the most cases, such images refer to the construction, culinary and other areas of life.

For example: Chers amis, si j'en suis là, c'est le fruit de l’obstination (Lakoff & Johnson, 2008).

An author sometimes tries to use enhanced metaphors (simple metaphors that combine several metaphorical expressions, in other words, consisting of simple metaphors that are interrelated and complement one another) rather than simple literary metaphors. In this example, the journalist uses the verbs of ratatouille in addition to the culinary semantic domain ( mijoter , cuire , recuire , velouter ):

...politique, en France, c’est comme la ratatouille . C’est meilleur réchauffé. Ainsi François Mitterrand a-t-il mijoté vingt-trois ans dans l’opposition avant que les Français le considèrent assez cuit ; recuit et velouté par l’expérience et par l’échec pour prendre sa place à la table des présidents

4. Phytonimic metaphor. For example, starting a business is called by the metaphor " semer des graines " (seed sowing), or achieving the results of any activity is called " cueillir des fruits " (fruit harvesting).

On ne peut impunément faire de Bruxelles un bouc émissaire de ses propres échecs économiques durant des années sans féconder la graine eurosceptique

In this example, “ féconder la graine   ” is used in accordance with the denotation “Creation and development of skeptical ideas in Europe”.

5. Military metaphor . The French political press widely uses military terminology to create a metaphorical structure. For example: the following constructions are widely used – bataille parlementaire (parliamentary battle), bataille politique (political battle), champs de bataille (battlefield), guerre froide (Cold War).

  • Cela promet d’être la bataille parlementaire de la rentrée

  • Le Parti socialiste souhaite faire de ce débat «une vraie bataille politique» à quelques mois des élections

  • Or le couple qui assume la liberté des deux étrangers peut devenir un véritable champs de bataille

  • … elle ne croyait pas à la possibilité d’une nouvelle guerre froide

  • Il y a trois ans, le service de Google s’était transformé en champ de bataille (поле битвы) entre internautes israéliens et arabes, les uns et les autres se dénigrant mutuellement

  • …nos élites déphasées préfèrent l'enlisement dans un combat d'arrière-gardе

6. Art (theater, music etc.) metaphors.

One of the broadest sample specimens belongs to the field of culture (music culture, dance, performances, and sports games (Ryumshina, 2004)). For example, the democratic principles of the French government are presented as misleading and deceptive as the actor's nose in the next example.

La preuve que les prétendus valeurs et principes démocratiques qui animeraient notre diplomatie sont en réalité à géométrie variable, qu'ils ne sont que le faux-nez d'un inavouable Munich permanent

French political journalists often use the metaphor of individual authors to refer to dance.

Républicains qui ont abandonné le navire de la campagne filloniste depuis quelques jours. Encore un effort et l'on en aura fini avec la folle sarabande des tweets ravageurs...

The accusatory wave against Fillon is described as a metaphorical mad saraband (ancient national Spanish dance) in this example.

Political competitive relations is often associated with sport competitions too. For example, the end of F. Hollande's presidency is described as the end of a long race in the following example:

Sauf que la piste est de plus en plus glissante, les patins de plus en plus rouillés et le patineur de plus en plus fatigué. C'est donc en athlète en bout de course que François Hollande a mis pour la énième fois en garde les électeurs contre le danger

The denial of French policy by the French people is indicated by the "red judge" signal in the following example:

Nous voulons donner un carton rouge au gouvernement. La démission du ministre de la Justice ne suffit pas après ce qu'il a tenté de faire

It is possible to find metaphors related to the concept of the game or its types. For example, France's unwillingness to follow America on political issues is illustrated by the journalist's metaphor for "not following American game rules":

Nous ne sommes pas obligés de subir les règles du jeu américaines

In the following examples, metaphor card games are based on the semantic field and illustrate the EU's wrong decisions, comparing them to bad cards in the game.

Mauvaise pioche : quelques heures après l’annonce de cette décision, les djihadistes attaquaient des bureaux d’Ahrar Al-Cham dans la province d’Idlib

Depuis le début de la Guerre Froide, les Etats-Unis n'ont pas cessé de se mêler de la politique intérieure de ses alliés et clients, y compris en poussant leurs pions sur l'échiquier culturel et intellectuel

7. Economic metaphors. Economic metaphors are also widely used in French political texts. For example: the journalist uses the notion of export as Western countries spread their democracy to other countries in the next example.

Les pays occidentaux de l'après-guerre ont construit des «républiques démocratiques ». Ils exportaient des despotats démocratiques et en appelaient à une démocratie abstraite – inexistante

8. Religious metaphors. Religious metaphors are also used in the French political press. These metaphors lead us to a wide range of religious concepts, from Christianity to Islam. The daily rituals of Christian life are more commonly referred to:

Cette grand-messe diplomatique, qui est orchestrée par la Russie et survient un mois après la reprise des quartiers est d’Alep par les forces progouvernementales vise à consolider le cessez-le-feu décrété à la fin décembre

In this example, Russia's successful diplomatic policy is presented as a cathedral that is an important event of the day for Catholics.

9. Meteorological metaphor. The political uncertainty is expressed by the metaphor "brouillard aux multiples couches" which means "foggy" in the next example.

Dans ce brouillard aux multiples couches , Rama Yade, ancienne membre du Parti radical et de l'UDI (dont elle a été exclue à la rentrée 2015), s'est déclarée candidate à l'élection


As a result of the analysis, it can be concluded that the expression of intensities in political and media discourses is largely realized due to the conceptual metaphor. Metaphor is one of the main means making text more expressive, affecting the recipient's mind and keeping it away from sound thinking. The audience assimilates them and begins to change their political beliefs unknowingly. Various groups of metaphors (medical metaphors, household metaphors, military metaphors, economic metaphors, etc.) are used in political manipulative communication.


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31 October 2020

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Sociolinguistics, linguistics, semantics, discourse analysis, translation, interpretation

Cite this article as:

Orujova, Y. M. K. (2020). Metaphor As A Key Tool In The Implementation Of Intensity. In D. K. Bataev (Ed.), Social and Cultural Transformations in the Context of Modern Globalism» Dedicated to the 80th Anniversary of Turkayev Hassan Vakhitovich, vol 92. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 828-835). European Publisher.