Chapter published in:Persuasion in Public Discourse: Cognitive and functional perspectives
Edited by Jana Pelclová and Wei-lun Lu
[Discourse Approaches to Politics, Society and Culture 79] 2018
► pp. 65–84
Metaphor as a (de-)legitimizing strategy in leadership discourse
The language of crisis in Winston Churchill’s Cold War speeches
This chapter investigates Churchill’s Cold War speeches as a case of how cognitive and corpus linguistics may serve as a useful tool for analyzing how political leaders legitimize their agendas via linguistic means. We find that Churchill’s rhetoric makes extensive use of the source domains person, journey, and building. The argumentative purpose is at least twofold. First, journey and building metaphors give positive value to the country’s prospects. Second, the journey metaphor is found to co-occur with personification, with the purpose of seeking partnership between the United States and the United Kingdom. We conclude by discussing how political leaders linguistically represent and conceptually frame a crisis, especially via metaphorical means, convincing their people of the usefulness of certain proposals and thus legitimizing their agendas, with Churchill as a representative example.
Keywords: Cold War, crisis, leadership, legitimization, metaphor, Winston Churchill
Published online: 08 August 2018
Cameron, Lynne, and Graham Low
Coulson, Seana, and Esther Pascual
Kilgarriff, Adam, Pavel Rychlý, Pavel Smrž, and David Tugwell
Lakoff, George, and Mark Turner
Lu, L.Wei-lun, and Kathleen Ahrens
Tversky, Amos, and Daniel Kahneman
van Dijk, Teun
Corpus and database consulted
Selected Speeches of Winston Churchill 2011 http://www.winstonchurchill.org/learn/speeches/speeches-of-winston-churchill.
The British National Corpus, version 3 (BNC XML Edition) 2007 Distributed by Oxford University Computing Services on behalf of the BNC Consortium.