Alicante Journal of English Studies / Revista Alicantina de Estudios Ingleses

Fight metaphors in Spain’s presidential speeches: J.L. Rodríguez Zapatero (2004-2007)

María Josefa Hellín García



This article investigates the metaphorical conceptualization of terrorism by president José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, who came into power soon after the biggest terrorist attack in Spain on March 11th, 2004. Specifically, it examines how terrorism is conceptualized via metaphors through the notion of fight, and their conceptual implication in discourse. I will refer to these as Fight Metaphors. The research questions addressed are as follows: 1. What Fight Metaphors are used in the discursive construction of terrorism? 2. How do Fight Metaphors contribute to support Zapatero’s anti-terrorism political agenda? I follow a combination of a cognitive and a pragmatic approach from a corpus-based analysis perspective. The cognitive approach is based on Lakoff’s Conceptual Metaphor Theory (1993), and the pragmatic one is based on Charteris-Back’s Critical Metaphor Analysis (2004). The corpus of investigation comprises 58 Spanish political speeches over a three-year period (2004-2007). Findings reveal that Fight Metaphors constitute the pivotal node that simultaneously performs various functions at several levels: cognitive, rhetorical, and ideological in order to promote his anti-terrorism political ideology.


Terrorism; Conceptualization; Political speech; Fight metaphors; Rodríguez Zapatero, José Luis


Copyright (c) 2009 María Josefa Hellín García

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