Cognitive metaphor and the “Arab Spring”: Nicole Möller
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.