I. and so contributes to social continuity and


According to Fairclough (1989, p. 14), “discourse has
effects upon social structures, as well as being determined by them and so
contributes to social continuity and social change.” I.e. a speech or a piece
of writing may have a great influence on society, as well as it can reflect the
situation that the society is in at the time of the speech being given or
express the ideology of the speaker. In the present paper, we are going to
focus on one particular part of the discourse – metaphors. The aim is to
analyse metaphors that are expressed in public speeches by influential figures,
more specifically, in presidents’ George Washington and Donald Trump first
inaugural speeches. When expressed in a public political speech, a metaphor is a matter of critical discourse analysis;
therefore, the theoretical part of the present paper is going to be dedicated
to the further explanation of this field, as well as to literature review of

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Critical discourse analysis (or CDA) is an approach to
the study of discourse that regards language as a form of social practice. Critical
discourse analysis is used to analyse political speech acts, to highlight the
rhetoric behind these speeches, and any forms of speech that may be used to
manipulate the impression given to the audience. CDA should not be regarded as
a separate direction, specialization or school, as it only seeks to offer a new
perspective of theorizing and analysis throughout the whole field of discourse

In order to realize the aims of critical discourse
analysis effectively, critical research on discourse needs to comply with a
number of requirements. As suggested by Van Dijk (1980), the requirements are the

order to be recognized, CDA research has to be better than other research.

focuses on political problems and social issues.

be more specific, CDA focuses on the ways discourse structures enact, confirm,
legitimate, reproduce or challenge relations of power and dominance in society.

adequate critical analysis usually involves different subjects of study;

does not end with describing structures of discourse; it tries to explain these
structures in terms of properties of social interaction and especially social

As summarized by Fairclough and Wodak (1997), the main
tenets of critical discourse analysis state that:

discourse analysis gives attention to social problems;

relations are discursive;

forms culture and society;

performs ideological work;

is related to studies of history;

relation between discourse and society is mediated;

analysis provides explanations and interpretations;

is a type of social action.



A central notion in most critical work on discourse is
the social power of groups or
institutions. Van Dijk explains that groups have more or less power if they are
able to control the acts and minds of members of other groups. According to the
various resources employed to exercise such power, different types of power may
be distinguished. E.g., the coercive power of the military and violent men will
rather be based on force; money will give the power to the rich, whereas knowledge,
information, or authority is the more or less persuasive power of parents,
professors, or journalists. While most people have active control only over everyday
talk with family members, friends, or colleagues, members of social groups and
institutions that are more powerful have exclusive control over one or more types
of public discourse. E.g., professors have control over scholarly discourse, and
lawyers are able to control legal discourse, journalists control media
discourse, while policy and other political discourse is in control of politicians.
By that definition, the ones who have more control over more discourse also
have more power.



As the present paper deals with inaugural speeches of
two presidents of the United States of America, i.e. political discourse,
political discourse analysis (PDA) is to be defined further.

Critical discourse analysis practitioners see the
analysis of political discourse as an essentially critical enterprise. Fairclough
(2012) observes that PDA is therefore understood as the analysis of political
discourse from a critical perspective, a perspective that focuses on the
reproduction and contestation of political power through political discourse.
PDA can have a lot to offer to political science and can contribute to
answering genuine political questions, but only if it focuses on features of discourse
which are relevant to the purpose or function of the political process or event
whose discursive dimension is being analysed. Focusing on the structure of
argumentation in a political speech is relevant in precisely this sense, as the
purpose of the speech may be to convince an audience that a certain course of
action is right or a certain point of view is true. This is the intended
perlocutionary effect, which is intrinsically associated with the speech act of
argumentation. Likewise, being able to analyse the structure of a practical
argument is indispensable to be able to
evaluate it critically in a systematic, rigorous manner, something that
political scientists would also want to do. Understanding the argumentative
nature of political texts is, therefore, the key to being able to evaluate the
political strategies they are a part of.



A popular view – the most common conception of
metaphor, both in scholarly circles and in the popular mind – is introduced by Kövecses
(2010) who states that, “a metaphor is a figure of speech in which one thing is
compared with another by saying that one is the other,” as in It’s just a house of cards. Alternatively, the Cambridge Dictionary defines
it as “an expression, often found in literature, that describes a person or
object by referring to something that is considered to have similar
characteristics to that person or object”. Let us take for example the phrase house
of cards. It would be considered a metaphor in the following context: “Katie’s plan to get into college was a house of cards.” We could also
claim that the phrase is used metaphorically in order to achieve artistic and
rhetorical effect, since we speak and write metaphorically to impress others
with embellished, rich language and aesthetically pleasing words, or to express
deep emotions. Kövecses indicates that a speaker would also add a certain
quality that makes the metaphorical identification possible, i.e. something
that both of the entities that are being compared have in common. In case of
the previous example, Katie’s plans
and a house of cards would both share
the same quality of fragility. Kövecses names five of the most commonly
accepted qualities that the traditional concept can be characterized by. 1) A metaphor
is a linguistic phenomenon, it is a property of words; 2) metaphor is used for some artistic and
rhetorical purpose, such as when Shakespeare writes, “All the world’s a stage”;
3) metaphor is based on similarities between the two entities that are
compared. Plans must share some
features with a house of cards in
order for us to be able to use the phrase a
house of cards as a metaphor for plans;
4) metaphor is a conscious use of words, and the user of it must have a special
talent to be able to do it well. Only great poets like Shakespeare or powerful
speakers like Churchill, can master it; 5) it is also commonly held that a metaphor
is a figure of speech that we can do without. We only use metaphors as special
effects to embellish our language; hence, it is not a necessary part of
everyday people communication, let alone day-to-day human thought and



As opposed to the most common conception of metaphor,
George Lakoff and Mark Johnson (1980) have introduced their seminal study Metaphors We Live By. In this study, they have developed a new view of
metaphor, which is challenging all of the previously discussed aspects
of the powerful traditional theory in a systematic way. Their theory is now known
as the “cognitive linguistic view of metaphor.” Lakoff and Johnson (1980) challenged
the deeply entrenched conception of metaphor by saying that: 1) metaphor is not
a property of words, it is a property of concepts. 2) A metaphor is not just an
artistic and aesthetic purpose; it serves as a mean to better understand
certain concepts. 3) Usually, a metaphor is not based on similarity; 4) metaphor is used in everyday life by ordinary
people and they do it effortlessly, special talent is not needed, and 5) metaphor, far from being a superfluous though pleasing linguistic
ornament, is an inevitable process of human thought and reasoning.


linguistic expressions

Definition of a conceptual metaphor suggested by Kövecses
(2010) states that a conceptual metaphor consists of two conceptual domains, in
which one domain is understood in terms of another, i.e. conceptual domain A is conceptual domain B. A conceptual domain can
be defined as any clear organization of experience. For example, we have
coherently organized knowledge about journeys
(i.e. conceptual domain A) that we rely on in understanding life (i.e. conceptual domain B), and the
conceptual metaphor would be Life is a

The two domains that a conceptual metaphor consists of
have special names. The conceptual domain whose qualities we use to draw
metaphorical expressions to understand another conceptual domain (previously
mentioned as the conceptual domain A) is called source domain, while the conceptual domain that is understood this
way (i.e. conceptual domain B) is the target
domain. Therefore, life, arguments,
love, theory, ideas, and others are target domains, while journeys, war, buildings, food, plants, and
others are source domains. A convenient shorthand way of capturing this view of
target and source domain, as summarized by Kövecses, is the following: “The target domain is the domain that we try
to understand through the use of the source domain” (p. 25).

Although a conceptual metaphor can function in a
language as it is, it could also be regarded as a base from which a variety of metaphorical linguistic expressions can
derive. A metaphorical linguistic expression can be described throughout the
previously used example – life is a
journey. While life is a journey is
the conceptual metaphor, all the preceding expressions that have to do with life and come
from domain journey (e.g., I’m at crossroads in my life; She’ll go places in life; He’s without
direction in life; etc.) are called metaphorical linguistic

In a bid to further explain what it could mean for a
concept to be metaphorical and for such a concept to structure an everyday
activity, Lakoff and Johnson (1980) start with the concept argument and the conceptual metaphor argument is war. Speakers constantly use the preceding metaphor day-to-day
language by a wide range of expressions: “He
attacked every weak point in my argument;
I’ve never won an argument with him;
Your claims are indefensible; I demolished his argument; Okay, shoot!; He shot down all of my arguments.” Based on given examples, we can
observe that an argument is not just described in terms of war. The two sides
of an argument see each other as opponents, attack each other, and try to
defend themselves by planning and using strategies. Many of the actions that
people perform while arguing are formed by the concept of war to a certain
extent. Even though the actual physical battle does not exist, there is a
verbal battle, and it is reflected by the structure of an argument – attack,
defence, counterattack, etc. In this sense the argument is war metaphor is one that we carry out in this culture,
i.e., it structures the actions we perform in arguing. Lakoff and Johnson also add that an argument could be described in
terms of something else, e.g. a dance. As they explain it, “Imagine a culture
where an argument is viewed as a dance, the participants are seen as
performers, and the goal is to perform in a balanced and aesthetically pleasing
way.” In a culture like the one described in the example, the process of
arguing would be completely different from what it is now and we would not regard
it as an argument, it would be viewed
as a different process. That is what it means for a metaphor, in this case, the
is war, to shape the actions that we perform and how we comprehend what we
are doing when we argue.  Lakoff and
Johnson also give another example of conceptual metaphor – time is money, as well as the expressions that derive from it, such
as “You
are wasting my time; This
gadget will save you hours,”
etc. From this we can see, that time
is very valuable in our culture. Given these examples, it is clear to see that by
analysing conceptual metaphors and metaphorical linguistic expressions that are
used in a language, it is rather easy to determine particular culture’s point
of view regarding one or another topic.



As observed by Kövecses (2010), there are distinct
kinds of conceptual metaphor, and metaphors can be classified in a variety of
ways. These include classifications according to the conventionality, function, nature, and level of generality of metaphor. Metaphors could be classified in
several other ways; however, the preceding approaches play the most important
role in the cognitive linguistic view. The four ways of classification of
metaphors are to be further analysed below.

Conventionality of metaphor – the
term “conventional” is used in the
sense of well established and well entrenched, i.e. conventionality of
metaphor answers the question of how well worn or how deeply entrenched a
metaphor is in everyday use by ordinary people for everyday purposes. Conceptual
metaphors, as well as metaphorical linguistic expressions that derive from them,
are considered highly conventionalized
if speakers use them naturally and effortlessly for their normal, everyday
purposes when they talk about such concepts as argument, love, social
organizations, life, and so on. For example, conceptual metaphor social
organizations are plants and deriving metaphorical linguistic
expression The company is growing fast; ideas are food: I can’t digest all these facts. Theories are buildings: We have to construct a new theory. The
preceding examples are worn or even clichéd to the extent where most speakers
would not even notice that they use metaphor when they use the expression construct in connection with theories, grow in connection with a company, or digest in connection with ideas.

All metaphors can be more or less conventional. Highly
conventional metaphors are at one end of what we can call the scale of conventionality. At the opposite end of the scale, we
find highly unconventional metaphors. E.g., (1) He had a head start in life and (2) Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less travelled by, and that has made
all the difference. Both of these examples are linguistic metaphors that
manifest the same conceptual metaphor life is a journey. While the example
(1) is widely used in English
language, example (2) employs
linguistic expressions from the journey
domain that have not been conventionalized for speakers of English; “two roads diverged” and “I took the one road less travelled by”
are not worn out, clichéd linguistic expressions to talk about life, i.e. they
are highly unconventional.

The Cognitive Function of Metaphor – the cognitive function of metaphor is the function
that a metaphor performs for ordinary people in thinking about and seeing the world.
Conceptual metaphors may be classified based on the cognitive functions that
they execute, there has been distinguished three general kinds of conceptual
metaphor: structural, ontological, and orientational.

Structural – in this kind of metaphor, the source domain provides
a relatively rich knowledge structure for the target concept. I.e., the
cognitive function of these metaphors is to allow speakers to understand target
(a) by means of the structure of
source (b). E.g., The time (a) is motion (b). By comparing time
with the motion, speakers observe that
time can pass, stop, come, fly by, etc.
I.e., speakers are provided with knowledge about the target (time).

Ontological – Ontology is a branch of philosophy that has to do
with the nature of existence. The cognitive job
of ontological metaphors is to “merely” give a new ontological status to
general categories of abstract target concepts and to bring about new abstract
entities. What this means is that we imagine our experiences in terms of
objects in general, without specifying exactly what kind of object is meant. For
example, we do not really know what the mind
is, but we conceive of it as an object, this way we can attempt to understand
more about it. Another example is a computer,
that is not a human being, however, it is given human-like qualities such as dying, working, etc. Personifying
nonhumans objects as humans, helps us understand them a little better.

Orientational – cognitive job of orientational metaphors is to make
a set of target concepts coherent in our conceptual system, most metaphors that
serve this function have to do with basic human spatial orientations, such as
up-down, centre-periphery, and the like. “Coherence” simply means that certain
target concepts tend to be conceptualized in a uniform manner. E.g., the
following concept is characterized by an “upward” orientation, while their
“opposite” receives a “downward” orientation. More is up; less is down: Speak up,
please; Keep your voice down,

The Nature of Metaphor –
metaphors may be based on knowledge and image. In knowledge-based metaphors,
basic knowledge structures constituted by some basic elements are mapped from a
source to a target, as it has already been analysed in the present paper. In image-schema metaphor, another kind of conceptual
metaphor, it is not conceptual elements of knowledge that are mapped from a
source to a target, but conceptual elements of image-schemas. Let us take the
following examples with the word out:
pass out; space out; zone out; tune out;
veg out; conk out; rub out; snuff out; out of order; be out of something. These
phrases have to do with events and states such as losing consciousness, lack of
attention, something breaking down, death, and absence of something. All of
them indicate a negative state of affairs. More importantly, they map
relatively little from source to target. As the name implies, metaphors of this
kind have source domains that have the most basic image-schemas, such as the
one associated with “out”. These basic image-schemas derive from our interactions
with the world: we explore physical objects by contact with them; we move
around the world; we experience physical forces affecting us; and we try to
resist these forces, such as when we walk against the wind. Interactions such
as these occur repeatedly in human experience. These basic physical experiences
give rise to what are called image-schemas, and the image-schemas structure
many of our abstract concepts metaphorically.

Levels of Generality of Metaphor – conceptual metaphors can be categorized in accordance with the level
of generality at which they are found. They can be generic-level or specific-level
ones. Examples of specific-level metaphors are life is a journey, an argument is a war,
ideas are food, and so on. Life,
journey, argument, war, ideas, and food are specific-level
concepts. Schematic structures underlying them are filled in a detailed
way. Meanwhile, concepts such as events,
actions, generic, and specific are all generic-level
concepts. Only minimal number of properties defines them, hence we could say
that they are characterized by extremely skeletal structures. For example, in
the case of events, an entity experiences
some kind of modification influenced by some external force. There is a variety
of event kinds: burning, inflation, freezing,
the wind blowing loving, getting sick, dying, and more. All of them are instances
of the generic concept of the event.