A Comparative Study of Conceptual Metaphors in English and Kurdish Political Media Discourse


  • Naushirwan Rahim Mahmood English Department, College of Language and Education, Charmo University, Sulaimaniya, Iraq
  • Ibrahim Mohammad Ali Murad English Department, College of Language and Education, Charmo University, Sulaimaniya, Iraq




conceptual metaphors, corpus, political discourse, political media discourse, cognitive linguistics


Metaphor research dates back to antiquity. It has always been the focus of attention of many theories. The most distinctive of those theories is Conceptual Metaphor Theory (CMT). It has been widely accepted and made a breakthrough in metaphor research. It strongly challenged the belief that metaphor is related only to poetics and is mastered only by gifted language users. It posits that metaphor is a conceptual phenomenon in the first place and metaphoric language is one of its manifestations. It postulates that metaphor is a cognitive mechanism through which abstract concepts are understood in terms of more concrete concepts. During the past four decades, it has been adopted in countless cross-linguistic and discourse studies. The present study aims to survey politics-related conceptual metaphors in English and Kurdish political media discourse and draw a comparison between them. Methodologically, to elicit the data required for this study, the researchers have compiled a corpus derived from a number of English and Kurdish opinion articles published in digital media outlets. The study adopts MIPVU (Metaphor Identification Procedure VU University Amsterdam) to identify the linguistic metaphors in the corpus. What have been drawn from the results of this paper indicate that a considerable number of conceptual metaphors do occur in English and Kurdish political media discourse, the two languages show both similarities and differences in metaphorical conceptualization of politics-related concepts, and that Kurdish political media discourse incorporates a higher number of conceptual metaphors than English.


Abdulla, I. A. (2020). The conceptualization of Covid-19 in English and Kurdish online

newspaper articles: A cognitive semantic approach. ZANCO Journal of Humanity

Sciences, 24(6), 251–271. https://doi.org/DOI: 10.21271/zjhs.24.6.17.

Abdullah, Kh. A. (2016). A Comparative Study of Conceptual Metaphors of Love in English and Kurdish. Govari Zankoi Raparin, 3(6). http://ojournal.uor.edu.krd/ArchivedIssues06


Abdullah, Kh. A. (2021). A cognitive study of anger metaphors in English and Kurdish.

Journal of the University of Raparin, 8(1), 28–47. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.267


Aksan, M. (2006). The container metaphor in Turkish expressions of anger. Journal of

Linguistics and Literature, 3(2), 15–13. https://doi.org/https://www.degruyter.com/


Aristotle, (2013). Oxford world's classics: Aristotle: Poetics (A. Kenny, Trans.). Oxford

University Press. (Original Work Published n.d.).

Biria, R., & Yakhabi, M. (2013). Contrastive rhetorical analysis of argumentation techniques

in the argumentative essays of English and Persian writers. Journal of Language,

Culture, and Translation (LCT), 2(1), 1–14. https://www.researchgate.net/publication



Brett, R.L., & Jones, A.R. (Eds.). (1991). Lyrical Ballads: William Wordsworth and Samuel

Taylor Coleridge (2nd ed.). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203413876.

Cameron, L., & Deignan, A. (2003). Combining large and small corpora to investigate tuning

devices around metaphor in spoken discourse. Metaphor and Symbol, 18(3), 149–160.


Charteris-Black, J. (2004). Corpus approaches to critical metaphor analysis. Palgrave


Charteris-Black, J. (2011). Politicians and rhetoric: The persuasive power of metaphor (2nd

ed.). Palgrave Macmillan.

Croft, W., & D.A. Cruse. (2004). Cognitive linguistics. Cambridge University Press.

Evans, V. (2007). Glossary of cognitive linguistics. Edinburgh University Press.

Evans, V. (2012). Cognitive linguistics. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive

Science, 3(2), 129-141. https://doi.org/10.1002/wcs.1163

Evans, V., B. K. Bergen and J. Zinken. (2007). The cognitive linguistics enterprise: An

overview. In V. Evans, B. K. Bergen and J. Zinken (Eds.) The cognitive linguistics

reader. (pp. 2-36). Equinox.

Gao, L. (2016). A comparative study of conceptual metaphors in English and Chinese

economic news headlines. Creative Education, 7, 2629–2639.


Geeraerts, D. (2008). Introduction: A rough guide to cognitive linguistics. In Cognitive

linguistics: Basic readings (pp. 1-28). De Gruyter Mouton.

Grady, J. (2007). Metaphor. In D. Geeraerts & H. Cuyckens (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of

cognitive linguistics (pp. 188–214). Oxford University Press.

Grice, H.P. (1975). Logic and conversation. In Cole, P. & Morgan, J. (Eds.), Syntax and

semantics (Volume 3). (pp. 41-58). Academic Press.

Hawkes, T. (2018). Metaphor: The critical idiom reissued. Routledge.

Herşemîy, Sh. (2022). Ferhengî êtîmolojî kurdî: mêjûy pêkhatnî wşe le zmanî Kurdîyda.

Dezgay Roşnibîrî Cemal 'îrfan; Nawendî Twêjînewey Edebî 'bdulrehman Zebîhî.

Kövecses, Z. (2000). Metaphor and emotion. Cambridge University Press.

Kövecses, Z. (2005). Metaphor in culture. universality and variation. Cambridge University


Kövecses, Z. (2010a). Metaphor: A practical introduction (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press.

Kövecses, Z. (2010b). Metaphor and Culture. Acta Universitatis Sapientiae, Philologica,

(2), 197–220. https://www.ceeol.com/search/article-detail?id=72344.

Krennmayr, T. (2011). Metaphor in newspapers [Doctoral dissertation, Vrije Universiteit].


Lakoff, G., & Johnson, M. (1999). Philosophy in the flesh: The embodied mind & its

challenge to Western thought. Basic Books.

Lakoff, G., & Johnson, M. (2003). Metaphor we live by. Chicago University Press.

López, L. F. L. (2019). The role of metaphor as the backbone of the last five conservative

manifestos and the conceptualisation of their policies in political cartoons in the

British conservative press [Doctoral dissertation, Complutense University of Madrid].


Maalej, Z. (2004). Figurative language in anger expressions in Tunisian Arabic: An extended

view of embodiment. Metaphor and symbol, 19(1), 51–75. https://doi.org/DOI:


Mammadov, A. (2010). Metaphors in the American and Russian Political Discourse. Rask

Journal, 31, 69–87. https://www.sdu.dk/-/media/files/om_sdu/institutter/isk/


Musolff, A. (2004). Metaphor and political discourse: analogical reasoning in debates

about Europe. Palgrave Macmillan

Nataša, S., & Novak, M. S. (2019). Conceptual metaphors in political discourse in Croatian,

American and Italian newspapers. Academic Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies,

(1), 69–76. https://econpapers.repec.org/scripts/redir.pf?u=https%3A%2F%2Fdoi.o


Petrica, M. (2014). Cognitive Metaphors in Political Discourse in Malta Malta and the Case

of EU-Membership Debate. [Inaugural-Dissertation, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität

München]. https://doi.org/10.5282/edoc.16603

Pragglejaz Group. (2007). MIP: A method for identifying metaphorically used words in

discourse. Metaphor and Symbol, 22(1), 1–39. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/


Rohanî, M. M. (Ed.) (2020). Ferhengî zanistgay Kurdistan (2nd ed.). Pexşangay Zanistgay


Searle, J. (1993). Metaphor. In: A. Ortony (Ed.) Metaphor and Thought (2nd ed., pp. 83–111).

Cambridge University Press.

Sharifi, S., Pooresfahani, A. F., & Pooresfahani, A. F. (2012). A survey on Persian metaphors

in political texts from cognitive point of view. Studies in Literature and Language,

(2), 70–76. http://www.cscanada.net/index.php/sll/article/view/j.sll.1923156320120


Steen, G. J. (1999). From linguistic to conceptual metaphor in five steps. In G. J. Steen & J.

Gibbs, R. W. (Eds.), Metaphor in Cognitive Linguistics (pp. 57–77). John Benjamins.

Steen, G. J., Dorst, A. G., Herrmann, J. B., Kaal, A., Krennmayr, T., & Pasma, T. (2010). A

Method for Linguistic Metaphor Identification. John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Terkourafi, M., & Petrakis, S. (2010). A critical look at the desktop metaphor 30 years on. In

G. Low, Z. Todd, A. Deignan, & L. Cameron (Eds.), Researching and applying

metaphor in the real world (pp. 145–164). John Benjamins Publishing Company.

van Dijk, T. A. (1997). What is political discourse analysis? Belgian Journal of Linguistics,

(1), 11–52. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1075/bjl.11.03dij.

Wilson, J. (1990). Politically Speaking. Blackwell.

Wilson, J. (2001). Political discourse. In D. Schiffrin, D. Tannen, & H. E. Hamilton (Eds.),

The handbook of discourse analysis (pp. 398–415). Blackwell Publishers.

Xall, Sh. M. (2005). Ferhengî xall. Bllawkrawey Aras.



How to Cite

Rahim Mahmood, N. ., & Mohammad Ali Murad, I. . (2023). A Comparative Study of Conceptual Metaphors in English and Kurdish Political Media Discourse. The Scientific Journal of Cihan University– Sulaimaniya, 7(2), 131-160. https://doi.org/10.25098/7.2.24



Articles Vol7 Issue2