METAPHORIC REPRESENTATION OF THE CONCEPT ‘CRIME’ IN THE U.S. MEDIA DISCOURSE
This paper is a study of conceptual metaphors that represent the concept ‘crime’ in the contemporary U.S. media discourse. The theoretical background is based on Cognitive Theory of Metaphor by G. Lakoff that considers metaphor as a cognitive structure that helps understand a complex idea (the target domain) by assigning to it qualities found in a familiar/simple object (the source domain). The main question is how the notion ‘crime’ is conceptualised in the U.S. periodicals, thus shaping social views of it. In order to find an answer, a survey of 1213 fragments of 232 newspaper articles with metaphoric collocations naming the concept ‘crime’ has been conducted. By applying cognitive theory of metaphor analysis to metaphoric expressions, three types of conceptual metaphors have been singled out: structural, ontological, and orientation. The data suggest that orientation metaphors of the concept ‘crime’ are most pervasive in the U.S. media discourse (61% of the total number of collocations), with structural metaphors occupying the second position (38%), and ontological metaphors being the least frequent (1%). Orientation metaphors feature the trajectory of crime in space: up – down, forward – backward, from the centre – to the centre, and are used to represent statistics of the crime rate. Structural metaphors ‘crime is an enemy’, ‘crime is the element of nature’, ‘crime is a disease’, ‘crime is a weed’, ‘crime is goods’, ‘crime is a hazardous substance’ model the strategies of crime rate reduction for ordinary Americans. Ontological metaphors ‘crime is mire’, ‘crime is food’, ‘crime is a beast’ highlight such cognitive features of crime as dirt, harm, and danger.
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