Publication details [#8868]

Piller, Ingrid. 1999. Extended metaphor in automobile fan discourse. Poetics Today 20 (3) : 483–498. 16 pp.


This article investigates the use of extended metaphor in automobile fan discourse. It starts out with a definition of extended metaphor as literary, consciously sustained metaphor, and goes on to redefine it as consciously sustained but not exclusively literary; extended metaphor can also be found in consumer discourse. The article proceeds to describe the body of automobile fan discourse, its text types and communicative functions. Next, the article gives an overview of the most frequently used metaphorical concepts by which cars are represented. Particular attention is paid to those concepts that humanize or animate the car. Against this background, a text from the magazine 'Car and Driver' that lobbies against safety legislation for sport utility vehicles is then analyzed. It is shown that the author skillfully employs two extended metaphors to argue his cause: CARS ARE CREATURES, THESE CREATURES ARE MALTREATED, and CONSUMER RIGHTS ACTIVISTS ARE MALTREATERS OF CARS. These concepts are sustained throughout the text through both lexical choices and grammatical patterns. It is shown that the metaphorical concept THE CAR IS HUMAN/ANIMATE is a powerful tool of the ideology of automobilism that is consciously drawn on and reinforced in a specific text. (LLBA 2000, vol. 34, n. 5)