"When they go low, you go high": a metaphor and metonomy-led analysis of the second American presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump

Heritage, Frazer (2018). "When they go low, you go high": a metaphor and metonomy-led analysis of the second American presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. University of Birmingham. M.A.

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Despite its importance within the scholarly field of metaphor research, Conceptual Metaphor Theory, proposed by Lakoff and Johnson (1980), appears to be unable to explain the whole story when examining metaphor and the related concept, metonymy. Specifically, the cognitive view of metaphor is not able to fully explain how and why metaphor and metonymy are uses in different contexts or ‘discourses’. One prevalent type of discourse in modern society is political discourse. Scholars have now begun to pay attention to how metaphor and metonymy are used in the context of politics (for example, Charteris-Black, 2011). Within this emerging body of research, one less explored area is that of American presidential debates. Because this is such an understudied area, the debates between two of the most controversial American politicians in 2016, Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump, have not yet been examined.

In my study, I take the second presidential debate between Clinton and Trump and explore how their use of metaphor and metonymy is affected by two factors which are believed to shape all types of discourse: genre and register. I combine both qualitative and quantitate analyses to illustrate throughout that genre and register should be considered in critical metaphor analysis. I also bridge various gaps in the academic literature surrounding critical metaphor and metonymy analysis and critical discourse analysis of American presidential debates. I argue that there are many similarities between the candidates, but that there are nuanced differences which are created due to the aspects of genre and register. I argue that both metaphor and metonymy should be considered and analysed in tandem with each other with regards to genre and register. The results suggest that candidates typically use both metaphor and metonymy to position their ideological views towards topics in often subtle ways. I use corpus data to explore how novel various metaphorical and metonymic constructions are. Throughout, the persuasive effect of these metaphors and metonymies are discussed.

Type of Work: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.A.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.A.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies, Department of English Language and Linguistics
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
P Language and Literature > PE English
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/8123


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