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E-Political Socialization, the Press and Politics

The Media and Government in the USA, Europe and China


Edited By Christ´l De Landtsheer, Russell Farnen and Daniel B. German

This book examines the state of print and electronic media in the United States of America, Europe, and China. The latest mass communication advances demonstrate that we live in an increasingly media-centric world. The chapters include theoretical and empirical studies that shed light on the meaning of this development. The trajectory of people’s move to electronic communication is a global phenomenon affecting their daily life. Does this trend aid or impede democracy? Is there an emerging digital divide contributing to an increasing gap between the rich and poor people and nations? The four parts of this book explore various aspects of political socialization and its relationship with different media, including print, broadcasting, and the Internet.
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9 Metaphors in Euroland Press

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Chapter 9

Metaphors in Euroland Press

Christ’l De Landtsheer

Professor of Communications Science, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium

Elisabeth Koch

Reuters Amsterdam Bureau, Amsterdam, the Netherlands


This chapter aims to find some indications of how and to what extent the Euro (European Single Currency) is portrayed in media coverage from various countries. It investigates the use of metaphors in Euronews. Metaphor is a powerful style form; the way a metaphor is used in public speech reveals citizens’ and elites’ interests and emotions toward public issues. This was confirmed in several case studies that applied the metaphor model which De Landtsheer (1994, 1998, 2004) developed. The current study focuses on the six months that preceded the public introduction of the Euro in 2002. It examines a 110,435-word sample of media discourse on the Euro from northern and southern Europe and the US covering the period between October 1999 and April 2000. Metaphor use in Euronews by countries that were willing to participate in the Euro was compared with Euronews from countries that were not planning to participate. The results suggest that media discourse on the Euro in so-called Euroland countries was more metaphorical (therefore, emotive and persuasive) than the Euro discourse in the non-Euroland countries.


One study (Taran, 2000) on the use of metaphor in the Ukrainian Parliament concluded that metaphors concur with elements of mythical thinking. Other metaphor research suggests that the “European myth” may currently be more coherent than one could imagine and that the political integration of the EU already exists to a large degree in European mentalities. In fact, the “mapping” of metaphors in the European Parliament reveals the divisions found when they are broken down by political functions, rather than by nationalities, countries, or particular languages (De Landtsheer, 1998).

This chapter considers the topic of metaphor in relation to European integration. It contributes to examining these metaphors that represent the “European Myth.” Metaphor can be studied as a powerful style form that is often employed in print media in relation to the Euro (the European Single Currency), which is the main feature of the European Monetary Union (EMU) (Farell, et al., 2002). Metaphors are important tools for opinion formation vis á vis the EMU. Metaphor affects citizens’ and elites’ perceptions of political and economic events (e.g., the introduction of the European single currency). Here, we use the metaphor ← 185 | 186 → research method developed by De Landtsheer (1998, 1994) to investigate persuasive and emotive efforts in press reporting about the Euro (De Landtsheer and De Vrij, 2004).

How important is the Euro for European Union member states that were willing to join the Euro zone and for others that decided not to join? In May 1998, participation in the Euro zone was confirmed for 11 EU member states: Belgium, Germany, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, and Spain. At that time, two members (Greece and Sweden) were not admitted because they did not fulfill the convergence criteria. In May 2000, the Commission admitted Greece beginning in January 2001 because it fit the criteria. The Commission decided that Sweden could not be admitted then because the Swedish legislation had not adopted the rules of the EU treaty and its currency did not meet the fluctuation margins set by EMU ( The aim of this research is to find (through metaphors alone) some indications of how and to what extent the Euro is portrayed in media coverage from various countries both in and out of “Euroland.”

The sample of newspaper articles for this study covers: the period October 1999 to April 2000. The empirical analysis was performed in Spring 2000, so it falls within the time frame January 1, 1999 (the introduction of the. Euro for transactions between banks only) to January 1, 2002 (the actual adoption of the Euro currency for the citizens in the Eurozone countries) (Boles, McDonald, and Healey, 2002; Fella, 2002; http:/// Metaphor use in public speech will be compared for two groups of countries: those that accepted the Euro’s circulation and those that did certainly not.

We begin with answers to these questions: What is metaphor? How can we identify metaphor? Next, we focus on our samples. Then, we detail the coding and interpretation of metaphors. Finally, we present our results.

What is Metaphor?

Metaphor is omnipresent in our life, in language, on television, and in the newspapers. One is usually not aware of such metaphors because they are like eyeglasses. One is aware of them only if they obscure vision. Metaphors describe nouns, reduce complexity, and represent facts from a specific perspective. Metaphors fulfill specific tasks (Luczak, et al., 1997, p. l; De Landtsheer, 1998, p. 32). Metaphors can “clarify” things, while retaining the ability to “mystify.” Since metaphors often use incorrect analogies, they may transmit certain desirable, but inaccurate, connotations. Metaphors have indisputable manipulative capabilities which help persuade audiences. In this sense, metaphors rely on their inferences and emotive power. They are figures of speech, in which a word (group) symbolizes an idea by using an implicit comparison, rather than a directly stated idea. Most importantly, metaphors seem to function as emotive components of language. De Landtsheer confirmed the longitudinal and cyclical evolution of ← 186 | 187 → emotionality in society with her metaphor methodology (Gaus, 2001, p. 122; De Landtsheer, 1987, 1988, 1991, 1992a, l992b, 1994).

All of these qualities make metaphors extremely useful for political purposes. It can be concluded from the relevant literature that metaphors can be used to sensitize audiences about political issues. At the same time, the use of metaphors in public speech obviously can contribute considerable information about public policy developments and public opinion formation (Beer and De Landtsheer, 2004). As many linguistic theorists, from Richards (1936) to Lakoff and Johnson (1980), have argued, metaphors shape our conceptual systems. Metaphor is a “constitutive form” and “an omnipresent principle” not only in language, but also in politics and international relations. Metaphor is an essential part of communications theory and may be used in the social sciences in an expansive way (Richardson, 1994, p. 519).

Aristotle initially formulated the first questions about metaphors: How can we identify and interpret them? What exactly are they? Metaphors go as far back as language itself. They are central to language and ubiquitous in communication (Hahn, 1998). Therefore, many scholars and philosophers have discussed metaphors since Aristotle’s time with a variety of replies. Aristotle’s substitution theory is based on the idea of similarity between two elements, the subject in question and the substitute expression from another sphere of life that is used to describe it. According to a modern formulation of this theory, metaphors are, “...merely figure[s] of speech in which a word for one idea or thing is used in place of another to suggest a likeness between them, as in ‘the ship ploughs the sea’” (Hahn, 1998, p. 133). The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English (1959, p. 748) says that metaphor is basically an “application of name” or a descriptive term for an object to which it is not literally applicable (the dictionary’s example is “a glaring error”). It is an implied comparison or description. Metaphor differs from simile since the latter usually contains the words “like” or “as.”

According to Black (1962, p. 39), metaphors are sentences, not isolated words. A metaphor clearly consists of two components. The metaphorical sentence is “the frame” or the “tenor” and the word or words used metaphorically are the “focus” or the “vehicle” (Richards, 1936). The two basic parts of metaphors are characterized differently by various scholars. For example, Lakoff and Johnson (1980, p. 230) say “we understand experience metaphorically when we use a gestalt from one domain of experience to structure experience in another domain.” Kittay (1998, p. 229) speaks of two “semantic fields”; a notion based on de Saussure’s and Baily’s earlier concepts.

“One has to ride a bicycle in order to keep it moving,” Jacques Chirac, the French president, suggested in an interview with the newspaper Figaro. The metaphor helped him present his views on Europe’s political unification. Chirac used a metaphor, which is a form of speech or language that consists of an implicit comparison between the topic that is discussed (the political unification of Europe) ← 187 | 188 → that is the primary subject (the “frame” or “tenor” of the metaphor) and a topic that belongs to a completely different domain of knowledge (riding a bicycle), which is the secondary subject (the “focus” or “vehicle” of the metaphor).

According to Black, the two subjects (principal and secondary) that metaphors have should be seen as two “belief systems.” The secondary subject (e.g., riding a bicycle) consists of a set of beliefs that help construct a set of beliefs about the principal subject (i.e., the European political integration). The two subjects interact in the interpretation, where some features of the secondary subject are highlighted (One has to ride a bicycle in order to keep it moving) to fit the principal subject (the European political integration) and to produce the meaning the speaker aims to convey (which is that “one should energetically proceed with the European political integration in order not to destroy it”). Understanding a metaphor involves comprehending the literal meaning called upon in the vehicle of the metaphor (riding a bicycle) and grasping the vehicle’s contrasting relations that are being transferred to a new domain (European political integration).

A commonly used identification criterion for metaphors is “strangeness of the expression to the context.” Dobrzynska (1995, p. 597) thought it a fact that metaphors are images and not notions, because they put together unlike, contrasted, and “unfixed semantic elements,” causing an aesthetic result for the audience. This aesthetic result is crucial to the attention-attracting qualities and the persuasive effects of metaphor. But Black (1962) formulated the currently used metaphor theory: “interaction theory.” According to this theory, the interaction of two ideas produces a new meaning (i.e., one plus one equals three). The conflict or contrast between the two different domains of knowledge or two semantic fields (“politics” and “bicycle”), two subjects, two parts that are often too dissimilar to allow our beliefs about the one to characterize the other directly (Black, 1979, p. 31) produces the metaphorical effect. This effect includes creating new meanings; it is also responsible for the “priming” effect of metaphors. The decision to interpret an utterance metaphorically depends on the “frame” or context: there must be “incongruity” within the utterance itself and its situational context (Kittay, 1987, p. 76).

We assume that the meaning of language is entirely content-dependent (dependent on its use), but that this holds much more for non-literal language, in general, and metaphors, in particular, than for literal language and stereotypes (Kittay, 1987, p. 97). Different kinds of basic frames can be distinguished other than the simple “situational” or “sentence” “frame.” These include the “text frame,” the “author’s frame,” the “geographical frame,” the “common interests frame,” the group frame,” or the “language frame” (Kittay, 1987, pp. 55-57).

A substantial body of literature has been published on metaphors and their meanings in certain contexts (for an overview, see Beer and De Landtsheer, 2004). Political metaphors show what could be said for metaphors in general: most works deal with metaphor in relation to a particular topic and its siguificance. Chilton’s ← 188 | 189 → (1996) Security Metaphors: Cold War Discourse from Containment to Common House is one of these works. Unfortunately, few works were helpful for this rudimentary research and exploration of the meaning of EMU metaphors in various countries. Works of practical value to this investigation of metaphors in newspapers from countries within and outside of the EMU proved to be those dealing with political language, political psychology, political communication, and European integration (Beer and De Landtsheer, 2004; De Landtsheer and Feldman, 2000; Feldman and De Landtsheer, 1998). The Internet contains much data on metaphors. Lakoff and Johnson’s book Metaphors We Live By (1980) placed metaphor on the agenda for communications and social sciences consideration. It convincingly demonstrated the overall importance of metaphor for our lives and for public discourse. However, our emphasis is on conventional metaphors and how these structure and confirm traditional social values, rather than not on original metaphors or their power to alter political processes.


This study mainly explores possible differences in trends in reporting about the Euro within and outside of Euroland. Indeed, due to the way the study was set up, it was not possible to compose an equilibrated, random, or stratified sample in terms of countries and newspapers. So our mass media language sample consists of 110,435 words representing 183 days of discourse on the Euro and the EMU in Danish, Dutch, Greek, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish, and American newspapers.

We chose these countries partly because of practical purposes. To perform a metaphor analysis, one must work with coders who are native speakers. The data collection and coding was set up as a research and take-home exam for De Landtsheer’s class of 27 international students taking an international communications course at the University of Amsterdam. The nationalities of the students in the class played a role in the choice of countries and the number of newspapers. Prominent papers from northern and southern Europe as well as one paper from the US were included in the sample. The metaphors come from a variety of newspapers from different countries. Dutch and American newspapers dominate, although Danish, Greek, Norwegian, Spanish, and Swedish papers are also included and play substantial roles. Papers from countries that at that time were supposed to be prepared to participate in the Eurozone include the Greek Eleftherotypia, the Spanish El Pais, and the Swedish Dagens Nyheter. When we conducted this research, Greece and Sweden were not yet allowed to participate in the EMU because they did not fulfill or meet the criteria; nevertheless, they were considered as eventual candidates for participation in the Euro. The Netherlands, a “Euroland country,” provided four main newspapers: Het Parool, De Volkskrant, NRC Handelsblad, and De Telegraaf.

From the non-Euroland countries, Denmark (an EU country that decided not to adopt the Euro) and Norway (a European non-EU member) were represented by ← 189 | 190 → Politiken and Aftenposten. We further analyzed The International Herald Tribune, a US newspaper published in Europe. The metaphors were taken only from those articles on or mentioning the Euro or the EMU. Each of the 27 students was assigned a newspaper (in his/her first language) to look through for certain months. Their first job was to search the newspapers for all articles mentioning the European Single Currency, disregarding articles that used the word “euro” only as a currency (e.g., “Sales rose 13 percent to 6.74 million euros from 5.98 million euros on Wednesday”) (The IHT, January 28, 2000).

Their second job included coding and calculating how many and what type of metaphors appeared in newspaper articles for every 1,000 words on the EMU in a particular time frame. These different interpretations of just one metaphor made it hard to perfectly code each and every one of them in the various newspapers. For this reason, the authors read every metaphor (the foreign ones were translated into English) that was received to make sure that the coding corresponds to what the coder wrote. Once the metaphors were coded by the theory and processes explained later in this chapter, it became possible to say how the print media depicted the European Single Currency over the same six-month period (October 1999 through March 2000).

It can be concluded from earlier studies (De Landtsheer, 1994, 1998; De Landtsheer and Recchi, 2000; De Landtsheer and De Vrij, 2004) that several factors other than interest in the Euro may affect the use of metaphor in public discourse in various countries. These include serious economic, political, or military crises; political extremism; and nationalistic events. But these factors are not dealt with in this study; besides, they may not be that significant. Within certain limits, the use of metaphor is affected by the ideology and scope (popular or elitist medium) of selected news media. These are factors that we tried to control as much as possible in our sample by way of our choices of certain newspapers.

Analyzing Political Metaphors

The method used in this study assessed the metaphor power of a given text corpus. Some of the information that the metaphor power provides us with concerns the emotional loading of a text and the persuasive efforts political elites exert in the process of forming public opinion. Metaphor power is expressed in a metaphor coefficient. Coding schemes (De Landtsheer, 1991, 1992a, 1992b, 1994, pp. 70-71, and 2004) used in these processes produce two metaphor coefficients, one for studied countries in the EMU and another for those outside the EMU.

The hypothesis that has been formulated is as follows. It is more probable that countries inside the “Eurozone” will have a higher metaphor coefficient since they want to promote their new currency (which is what metaphors help them to do in their use of language). Also, the Euro is a very important issue among those countries and is expected to have more frequent mentions in member countries. The United States, Norway, and Denmark (which are not part of the EMU) would most ← 190 | 191 → probably have a lower metaphor coefficient because the Euro is not expected to be as important a topic in their newspapers and, therefore, was likely to be mentioned less frequently. But there is no doubt that the new currency has and will have effects on these countries. Considering the actual times in which the coding took place, we expected that Euroland would have a greater total metaphor coefficient in comparison to the non-Euroland countries. Euroland countries in our sample are those which at the time of the research had applied to join the Eurozone; these included the Netherlands, Greece, and Spain (or even Sweden).

The following explanation describes how the metaphor coefficient was conceived and how metaphors were coded The metaphor coefficient (symbolized by C) is the product of three variables that respectively relate to frequency (symbolized by F), intensity (symbolized by I), and content (symbolized by D). Coding metaphors is a process not easily explained in writing; therefore, the following description and information is given in clear, simple, step-by-step fashion.

The first step is that every article with a mention of the Euro and with at least one metaphor had its words counted. This is how we started to calculate the frequency variable (F). It is simply the total number of metaphors per 1,000 words. For example, of the 25 articles on the Euro in the Aftenposten (the Norwegian newspaper) coded during these months (November 1999 through March 2000), there were 11 articles with at least one such metaphor. The total words of these articles amounted to 4,617, which would make the equation look like this: 11 divided by (total of 4,617 divided by 1,000) equals 2.382. (Or 11/(4,617/1,000)=2.382). The frequency coefficient (F) has been rounded off to the third decimal place. For this Norwegian newspaper, F is a bit more than two metaphors per 1,000 words. The same coding was done for the other countries and they were compared with these results

Two further steps followed in that each metaphor was then “coded.” This meant (in this particular case) that each received two different classifications to detail their metaphoric “power.” In the second step, a strength or intensity value is given to each metaphor: s (strong), n (normal), or w (weak). Each of these variables represents a number: a strong metaphor is designated 3 points, normal is 2 and weak is 1. The intensity value that each metaphor is given is based on the coders’ own common sense and knowledge. A strong metaphor is presented as original and new, while its literal meaning and emphasis is still quite applicable and current. A normal metaphor is not very creative or unique anymore, although it continues to incorporate distinct implications for its literal meaning. A weak metaphor is popular and frequently used and rarely concerns its literal meaning. To construct the Intensity variable (I), all weak metaphors are tallied and multiplied by 1, every normal metaphor is multiplied by 2, and each strong one is multiplied by 3; the sum of all these is divided by the total number of metaphors. To clarify this procedure, we used the Norwegian Aftenposten as an example (Table 1). The 22-point total is divided by the total number of metaphors in the articles to sum/reach one I (the ← 191 | 192 → total Intensity). This paper had 22 points/11 (total metaphors) = 2 (total intensity of metaphors for Norway). The same formula was used for the remaining countries.

Table 1: Metaphor Intensity of Euro news in the Norwegian paper Aftenposten (November 1999-March 2000)

IntensityTotal number of metaphorsTotal Points
W = 1X 2 =2
N = 2X 7 =14
S = 3X 2 =6

After the intensity variable coding is done, another symbol is given to each metaphor (this is the third step). This second series of categories and symbols is used to calculate the content variable or content power (D). Since metaphors are widely recognized as a framework for classifying or assorting behavior, different semantic fields of focus are added. An m is given if the metaphor is related to medical issues or illness; sp for sports or theatre; d for death or disaster; po for political or intellectual issues; na for nature; and p for popular subjects or those from everyday life. These categories and symbols represent various degrees of power: m (the strongest of all) is worth six points. It goes down one point respectively, until p (the weakest degree of strength) is left; it is worth just one point. Metaphors that mention body parts (m) and those that refer to sports or theatre (sp) are the most important in speech and print (Beer and De Landtsheer, 2004, contains a taxonomy of metaphorical sources and their possible weight factors).

Metaphors dealing with death, disaster, or violence (d) attract the attention of the audience, but also tend to generate fear. As far as the political and intellectual (po) metaphors are concerned, they do not appeal greatly to mass audiences because the average viewer/reader is not very “intellectual” and has no interest in politics. Metaphors on the topic of nature (na) have an obvious utility since everyone can associate with it. The popular (p) metaphors pertain to everyday life’s material aspects (e.g., in the home). These have an inclination to be authentic and genuine and are less associated with the conception of “myths” or “escape” than any of the previously stated classifications of metaphors (De Landtsheer, 1998).

Much of the rhetorical strength of most metaphor categories is that they come from occurrences. or events that all audiences can associate with and understand. Hahn (1998) gives examples of these (e.g., air, fire, earth, water, human anatomy, the animal world, seasons, gardening, planting, growing, decaying, and so on). The fact that these are customary and familiar to audiences means that the writer (in this case) need not use much time or space to convey what he/she is trying to say. Hahn (1998, p. 114) uses this example: if someone writes or says, “he’s a bear of a man,” most readers/listeners easily understand the gist of the message being communicated. Basic metaphors are not as simple as one may first believe them to be. In ← 192 | 193 → Hahn’s example metaphor, the receiver might have one of four different interpretations. Most people would simply envision a large man. Others who had experienced disagreeable encounters with bears might be convinced that the man is potentially dangerous or dangerously powerful. Some receivers could think of bear cubs and determine that the man is playful, cuddly, and clumsy. Lastly, some people may reflect on the differences between human beings and “lower” life forms (e.g., animals) and decide that the communicator is classifying the man as something of a brute or as less than human.

The content power or content variable (D) is discovered in a fashion comparable to the way intensity is calculated. To find D, every metaphor from one country that has been coded with an “m” must be counted and multiplied by 6, then added to every “sp” metaphor multiplied by 5, then added again to all “d” metaphors multiplied by 4, plus the number of “po” metaphors times 3, and so on. This number is then divided by the total number of metaphors (t) in the relevant press articles in that particular country. It becomes clearer in Table 2, using the Aftenposten example, if closely examined. We can make it easier to understand by writing the formula (De Landtsheer 1994, p. 71) like this:

D = 1p + 2na + 3po + 4d + 5sp + 6m

          Total number of metaphors (t)

The final step involves calculating C, the metaphor coefficient. C is the product of F, D, and I, which is how the study is set up, always starting with the frequency, then the intensity, then the content power, and finally, the metaphor coefficient. We calculate one metaphor coefficient for the press articles on the EMU from countries that are within it and another for countries outside it.

Table 2: Content power of metaphor in Euro news of the Norwegian paper Aftenposten (November 1999-March 2000)

Content power of metaphorsTotal number of metaphorsTotal points
P = 1X 3 =3
na = 2X 2 =4
po = 3X 0 =0
d = 4X 0 =0
sp = 5X 3 =15
m = 6X 3 =18
40/11 = 3.636Total: 1140
p = popular, na = nature, po = political and intellectual, d = death and disaster, sp = sports, m = medical ← 193 | 194 →


The formulas and equations used in this research are based on the model that De Landtsheer (1994, pp, 69-72) devised to calculate the metaphor coefficient. As mentioned before, the results should be considered only of exploratory interest because of the selective nature of the experiment.

What results do we see in Tables 3 and 4? The US and Greece ranked the highest, while Denmark and Spain ranked the least frequent. Euroland countries have more metaphors in their newspaper articles on the Euro per 1,000 words than non-Euroland countries. These results seem to confirm the hypothesis that news about the Euro in Euroland countries has more emotional impact than that in non-Euroland countries. Since we know that metaphors are figures of speech which help speakers/writers get a point across more easily, it must mean that the more metaphors there are per 1,000 words, the more easily the receiver understands the speaker/writer. Generally, in this sense, more metaphors are better than fewer in newspapers. The countries that are not in Euroland are not necessarily against the EMU, it is just not a major media concern. Norway and Denmark are part of Europe, but voted against changing their currencies to the Euro (Sweden did the same in 2003). As far as the United States is concerned, the Euro could make trading, import, and export with EMU countries much easier; this could make the US pro-Euro. But, of course, the US/Euro trade/exchange rate would have to be considered as well.

Table 3: Frequency of metaphors in Euro news inside Euroland (November 1999-March 2000). These countries wanted to adopt the Euro at the time of the study

Note: Every number in Tables 3 through 10 has been rounded either up or down to the third decimal place. ← 194 | 195 →

Table 4: Frequency of metaphors in Euro news outside of Euroland (November 1999-March 2000). These countries were not willing to adopt the Euro at the time of the study

These three non-Euro countries (Norway, Denmark, and the US) had fewer metaphors in their newspapers per 1,000 words (see Table 4). Needless to say, since they are not part of the EMU, the Euro has less importance. This may be substantiated with various quotes, like these from the International Herald Tribune: “Euroland is a big question mark” (February 29, 2000) and “Traders ignored a raft of bullish economic news in the Euro bloc that should have breathed new life into the currency” (January 25, 2000). It would be reasonable for non-Euro bloc countries to give priority to articles that are more culturally significant to their particular country. But they cannot avoid writing about the Euro since it is a huge step for the EMU and will make an impact not just on Europe, but also the rest of the world. However, the frequency of metaphors included would be less when they do write about the Euro.

Table 5: Intensity power of metaphors in Euro news inside Euroland (November 1999-March 2000). Countries willing to adopt the Euro at the time of the study

← 195 | 196 →

Table 6: Intensity power of metaphors in Euro news outside Euroland (November 1999-March 2000). Countries that were not willing to adopt the Euro at the time of the study

The results of this analysis in regard to the intensity variables of countries within and outside of Euroland are shown in Tables 5 and 6. The first rank is the country with the most intense metaphors. In this case, Greece again ranked as most intense among the countries inside the Euro zone; the US ranked highest for the non-EMU countries. The lower ranks show the least intense countries: in this case, Spain (again) and Norway. The highest degree of the presence or intensity of metaphor power can be detected among countries inside the Euro zone. This is also in line with our hypothesis and makes sense since the countries in Euroland want to promote the Euro as a good thing that will help, support, and benefit Europeans, making Europe a better place to live. Journalists would be expected to avoid putting the Euro down as a currency that will not do well in the future or to relate it to negative happenings. Setting the Euro in a bad light would help neither the EMU nor the morale of the people living there.

Some examples of metaphors from Euroland countries help to substantiate the theories mentioned previously. The Swedish paper Dagens Nyheter (March 2, 2000) writes, “To begin with, the rise [of the Euro] had a strengthening effect.” The Greek paper Eleftherotypia mentions, “The Euro is waiting for a goal to set the score even” and “attack the American currency” (November 27, 1999) and “the markets will not be thirsty anymore” (March 8, 2000). These are very powerful and intense metaphors. From the Spanish El Pais we read, “if we cook it [the Euro] with a little mimo, everything will taste as delicious as always” (November 6, 1999). Lastly, some metaphorical examples from the Dutch papers are: “interest fever” (Het Parool, February 8, 2000); “the Euro is like dice game” and “Should have ripened the land for the EMU” (both from NRC Handelsblad, March 2000); “it’s not easy for sand to get caught in the machine” (De Telegraaf, December 20, 1999); “Euro-concern ruins fun” and “the stench of crisis blows through the stock market” (both from NRC Handelsblad, November 30, 1999).

On the other hand, the lowest degree of metaphor intensity power is in the non-Euroland countries. Again, this should not be a surprise since non-Euroland papers ← 196 | 197 → are distributed in countries that will obviously not join the EMU and may depict the Euro as something of lesser value when compared to other countries’ treatments. This could suggest that the Euro is not seen as a top priority; rather, it is just a topic they must report with other issues that they consider more important. Countries that are not going to join the Euro club see the currency as a good and positive change for the EMU, but this is not the most meaningful or substantial story for their newspapers. However, the difference between the two groups of countries is not very sizeable.

To exemplify the previous statements, we present some metaphors from outside the Euro zone that were coded. These include “hand in hand,” “make or break,” and “divided roles” from the Danish paper Politiken (March 2000). The Norwegian Aftenposten used the metaphors “slow journey toward the Euro” (November 2, 1999) and “Euro climbs upward” (November 25, 1999). The US includes metaphors like “sinking Euro,” “driving down the Euro” (both from IHT, October 9-10, 1999) and “the Euro must recover” (IHT, January 5, 2000). All are quite weak metaphors and not very significant.

The number of words per country and their totals in Tables 5 and 6 are there for reasons of comparison. Obviously, countries that adopted the Euro had the most relevant words because there were more countries coded and more newspapers involved. Only three countries coded at that time were supposed to stay outside the EMU; therefore, they have a smaller word count. But they average out like this: countries inside Euroland 64,558/4 = 16,139.5, countries outside Euroland 45,877/3 = 15,292.3. This makes the amount of words in articles on the Euro (regardless of whether there are any metaphors in the articles) from countries that at the time were and were not to be members of the EMU more or less even.

Table 7: Content power of metaphors in Euro news inside Euroland (November 1999-March 2000). Countries that were willing to adopt the Euro at the time of the study

Table 8. Content power of metaphors in Euro news outside Euroland (November 1999-March 2000). Countries that were not willing to adopt the Euro at the time of the study.

← 197 | 198 →

Table 9: Number of metaphors in content categories in Euro news within and outside Euroland (for D) (November 1999-March 2000). Countries that were and were not willing to use the Euro as their currency at the time of this study

The content power or variable (D) is found only by putting all relevant metaphors in one out of six content categories (m, sp, d, po, na, or p) and, therefore, adding the appropriate symbol to all metaphors coded which stand for particular values (De Landtsheer, 1998). The results of the content variable are interesting because it is higher for the countries outside Euroland. So far, the results for F and I were higher for Euroland countries. Why is this so? The reason may be that Norway, Denmark, and the US use more metaphors with higher valued symbols, such as m, d, and po. These metaphors deal with medical issues or illness, death, disaster, politics, or intellectual topics. The other countries (Sweden, Greece, the Netherlands, and Spain) use “softer” metaphors, dealing mostly with popular subjects that everyone understands, like nature, sports, theater, and everyday life situations. Some examples here are: “the Euro searches for new depths” (De Volkskrant, December 4, 1999); “the Euro has been itching” (Het Parool, December 3, 1999); “analysts could smell the increase in interest” (De Telegraaf, February 19, 2000); “the Prime Minister isn’t putting his cards on the table” (De Volkskrant, February 19, 2000); “the boiling of the markets” (El Pais, December 5, 1999); “they see the bright side of the moon” (Eleftherotypia, November 30, 1999); “a wave of sales” (Eleftherotypia, March 24, 2000); and “the [Swedish] crown is tied to the German mark” (Dagens Nyheter, October 16, 1999).

The metaphor coefficient is the product of the metaphor variables frequency (F), intensity (I), and content (D), which are indicators of the metaphor power of a text (De Landtsbeer, 1998). It is obvious in Tables 9 and 10 that C is the last calculation for this research. The overall ranking that shows which group of countries has the highest and lowest degrees of metaphorical presence is also included. This metaphorical base, in correspondence with the hypothesis, is highest among countries that (at the time of the research) were willing to be part of the EMU and lowest among those that were outside the EMU. The average for Table 10 is calculated by the total divided by the number of countries 114.1/4 = 28.525; the average for Table 11 is 51.589/3 = 17.196. ← 198 | 199 →

Table 10: Metaphor coefficient in Euro news inside Euroland (November 1999-March 2000). Countries that were willing to adopt the Euro at the tune of the study

Table 11: Metaphor coefficient in Euro news outside Euroland (November 1999-March 2000). Countries that were not willing to adopt the Euro at the time of the study


The results show that countries that were willing to participate in the EMU at the time of the study have a higher metaphor coefficient than those outside the EMU. The frequency and intensity of metaphors indicate metaphor power in the news discourse. They were higher among the same countries (Sweden, Greece, the Netherlands and Spain in this sample), although content power was lower than in the non-Euro countries. As explained previously, reasons for these results suggest that the frequency (F) of the metaphor usage among EMU members’ newspapers is higher. It may also be concluded that the Euroland countries tend to use metaphors with a higher intensity (I) variable, while non-Euroland countries use less intense metaphors. Non-Euro countries have greater content power (D), but that does not change the final outcome, that EMU countries have the highest metaphorical standards.


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