Publication details [#59587]

Koller, Veronica, Elena Semino, Andrew Hardie, Jane Demmen, Paul Rayson, Zsófia Demjén and Sheila Payne. 2015. A computer-assisted study of the use of Violence metaphors for cancer and end of life by patients, family carers and health professionals. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics 20 (2) : 205–231.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
John Benjamins
Journal DOI


This study combines quantitative semi-automated corpus methods with manual qualitative analysis to investigate the use of Violence metaphors for cancer and end of life in a 1,500,000-word corpus of data from three stakeholder groups in healthcare: patients, family carers and healthcare professionals. Violence metaphors in general, especially military metaphors, are conventionally used to talk about illness, particularly cancer. However, they have also been criticized for their potentially negative implications. The use of innovative methodology enables to undertake a more rigorous and systematic investigation of Violence metaphors than has previously been possible. The findings show that patients, carers and professionals use a much wider set of Violence-related metaphors than noted in previous studies, and that metaphor use varies between interview and online forum genres and amongst different stakeholder groups. This study has implications for the computer-assisted study of metaphor, metaphor theory and analysis more generally, and communication in healthcare settings.