This chapter discusses patterns of use and variation in selected sports-related idiomatic expressions based on conceptual metaphors in five national varieties of English. Previous studies have predominantly focused on the pervasiveness of sports metaphors and their linguistic realization in American English, while the use of such metaphorical expressions in other varieties of English has been much less studied. In general, cognitive-linguistic research on linguistic and conceptual variation to date has predominantly examined cross-cultural differences in metaphorical mappings, while language-internal variation along sociolinguistic parameters that may affect metaphor usage have remained an under-researched topic. The present study shows how the types and aspects of (cross-cultural) metaphor variation can be fruitfully applied to different varieties of only one language. It investigates differences in the prominence of specific source domains across the varieties under study by taking into account metaphorical transparency and idiom variation based on a cognitive linguistic-model of idiom representation.
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