“Pour water where it burns”
Dysphemistic conceptualizations of the enemy in Persian political discourse
While dysphemism has been extensively studied as a general phenomenon, there are not too many studies on how it is used in political discourse by top officials. This paper aims to examine the ways in which a sample of two high-level Iranian politicians offensively conceptualize their alleged enemies, namely the U.S., Israel, and the West, through conceptual metaphors and metonymies. A cognitive linguistic analysis of the speeches of Iran’s supreme leader and ex-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad indicate that the selection of the metaphorical dysphemistic source domain is primarily determined by religion, previous discourse (pre-existing conventional dysphemistic metaphors), aspects of the target domain, and anger or hatred toward the enemies. The analysis indicates that most of the pejorative connotations are attributed to Israel as the alleged number one enemy of Iran via Israel is an animal, Israel is a tumor, and Israel is a bastard. The other presumed enemies, that is, the U.S. and the West are characterized via the u.s. is a devil, and the u.s. and the west are criminals. Moreover, the two politicians, while resorting to taboo concepts, remain loyal to the established discursive norms of delegitimizing the actions and thoughts of the enemies of the Islamic Republic.
Published online: 12 May 2016
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