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Cognitive Explorations into Metaphor and Metonymy

Frank Polzenhagen, Zoltan Kövecses, Stefanie Vogelbacher and Sonja Kleinke

This volume presents selected contributions to an annual symposium on metaphor and metonymy held at the English Department of Heidelberg University. It brings together papers by lecturers, PhD students and graduates from three universities – Heidelberg University, Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, and the University of East Anglia in Norwich. The contributions illustrate the plurality of perspectives and methods in current cognitive-linguistic research on metaphor and metonymy and exemplify some of the ways in which they can be combined. The papers also attest to the wide range of domains and topics to which metaphor- and metonymy-based research can be applied, including emotion terms, political and scientific discourse, morphology, cross-cultural variation and internet communication.
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Cognitive metaphor and the “Arab Spring”: Nicole Möller

1. Introduction

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Cognitive metaphor and the “Arab Spring”

    Nicole Möller (Heidelberg)

In 1968, the world witnessed an attempt at liberalisation and democratisation in Czechoslovakia and, a few months later, its violent suppression. The events went down in history as the “Prague Spring”. In 2011, a series of political uprisings occurred in the Arab region, which – inspired by the movement in the former Eastern bloc country – were dubbed the “Arab Spring”. Just like its eponym, the term “Arab Spring” constitutes a metaphorical expression based on the conceptual metaphor A POLITICAL MOVEMENT OF LIBERALISATION AND DEMOCRATISATION IS SPRING. By resorting to SPRING as a source domain, this metaphor emphasises the concept of a new and prosperous beginning after the hard and cold times of winter, when nature begins to grow and bloom again.

This article analyses metaphor usage in newspaper articles on the Arab Spring. As there is vast material available, the case study is restricted to two states involved in the Arab Spring movement: Tunisia, where the movement started, and Egypt, one of the first countries to follow suit.

It is often thought that metaphors merely are a stylistic device for embellishment in literature. In fact, however, they pervade everyday language, influencing our ways of thinking and of understanding a wide range of concepts (Johnson 1987: xii), i.e. they are a cognitive device.

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