Publication details [#12462]

Bakhtiar, Mohsen. 2016. “Pour water where it burns”: Dysphemistic conceptualizations of the enemy in Persian political discourse. Metaphor and the Social World 6 (1) : 103–133. 31 pp.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
Amsterdam: John Benjamins


The paper discusses the phenomenon of dysphemism used by top Iranian politicians in political discourse, and focuses on the way in which two Iranian politicians perceive their alleged enemeies, i.e. the USA, Israel and the West, using conceptual metaphors and metonymies. The article offers a cognitive linguistic analysis of the speeches delivered by Mohamoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s supreme leader and ex-president. As noticed in the analysis, it is religion, previous discourse (pre-existing conventional dysphemistic metaphors), aspects of the target domain, as well as anger or hatred toward the enemies that determines the metaphorical dysphemistic source domain. The analysis also shows that the most pejorative connotations are connected with Israel, conceptualized as a tumor, or a bastard, while other enemies, i.e. the USA and the West are conceptualized as a devil and criminals, respectively. Moreover, it is also indicated that the two politicians mentioned by Ahmadinejad stick to the established discursive norms of delegitimizing the actions and thoughts of the enemies of the Islamic Republic whenever they refer to taboo concepts.