Conceptual metaphor for COVID-19 in Australian newspapers
AffiliationSchool of Culture and Communication
Document TypeMasters Coursework thesis
Access StatusOnly available to University of Melbourne staff and students, login required
It is important to understand how news sources communicate information about pandemics to the public, and a central aspect of news is the use of metaphors. This study analyses cognitive frames and conceptual domains that metaphorically characterise COVID-19 as a concrete reality for the masses. Data were drawn from a corpus of Australian newspapers in the online Coronavirus Corpus (n.d.). Data were filtered, edited, and classified into three cohorts of corpora, each targeting one of three keywords: coronavirus, COVID-19, and virus. Through the KWIC tool and concordances in the cohorts, metaphoric linguistic expressions (MLEs) were identified. The textual analysis showed spreading and moving were the most common MLEs, followed by impede, force, drive, fight, and battle. The contextual analysis of the MLEs helped identify conceptual metaphors, such as COVID AS A MOVING ENTITY, COVID AS A WAVE, and COVID AS A KILLER. Based on the conceptual coherence between conceptual metaphors, four cognitive domains were classified: COVID AS A LIVING BEING, COVID AS A TSUNAMI, COVID AS A CRIMINAL, and COVID AS AN ENEMY. The findings differ slightly from previous research that found the WAR domain was a dominant source domain for disease metaphors, and many framing options for COVID-19 were used in Australian newspaper discourse. More research is required to better understand the representation of COVID-19 in media discourse to improve the government and public response.
KeywordsCOVID-19 in media discourse; coronavirus; COVID-19; virus; corpus
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