Academic journal article The Journal of Linguistic and Intercultural Education

'Time Is Money' Metaphor in British and Romanian Business Press

Academic journal article The Journal of Linguistic and Intercultural Education

'Time Is Money' Metaphor in British and Romanian Business Press

Article excerpt

1 Introduction

In contrast with General English, Business English features some peculiar traits which lend its peculiarity (Popescu 2007, 2011, 2015a): 1. a certain fixedness of lexical associations, i.e. less free lexical combinations; 2. a certain degree of courtesy and formality which are to be found in the forms and frameworks of conventionalised transactions; 3. sociolinguistic and pragmatic orientation, by which we mean that the language used by business people display "sensitivity to subject matter, the occasion, shared knowledge and social relations holding between companies and communicators" (Pickett 1986:2, as cited in Nelson 2000); 4. metaphoric load: the language used in business materials may be characterised by what we could call metaphoric load, i.e. the business language borrows words, phrases, similes, idioms, metaphors, metonimies from the general usage and applies them to the specific contexts of the place of work: abort a product, rat race, throw it at the wall and see if it sticks, golden parachutes, etc.; 5. marked idiomaticity: e.g. Instead, rather than undercutting television networks and producers, Joost might .. .give them new juice. (= give vitality). It is particularly the two latter traits that the present project will focus on. The starting point for our endeavours is represented by the seminal works Metaphors We Live By, published by Lakoff and Johnson in 1980, whose Theory of Conceptual Metaphor (TCM) has opened endless vistas for subsequent research and debate and Zoltan Kovecses's book on universality and variation of metaphor, which has contributed to our further delving into business metaphors, from this perspective of universals and variants.

2Literature review

The basic assumption of Lakoff and Johnson's theory is that metaphor is not only a stylistic feature of language, but thought itself is metaphorical in nature. "Conceptual metaphor is a natural part of human thought, and linguistic metaphor is a natural part of human language" (Lakoff, & Johnson 1980:247). Thus, the conceptual structure of metaphors rests on correspondences or mappings between conceptual domains. These mappings function in a natural way, as some of them are already existent in the human mind emerging from background cultural knowledge, as different kinds of similarities between concepts. Further on, Kövecses (2005:64) argues that the cognitive view of metaphor can simultaneously account for both universality and diversity in metaphorical thought. He has proved that certain conceptual metaphors (for anger, time, event structure, and the self) are potentially universal or can be nearuniversal. He identified these as being "simple" or "primary" metaphors and/or complex metaphors based on universal human experiences. He then explores embedded manifestations of generic level metaphors in order to prove that they are not candidates for near universal metaphors. Besides variations in conceptual metaphors at specific level there are others, such as when a culture uses a set of different source domains for a particular target domain, or when a culture uses a particular source domain for the conceptualization of a set of different target domains (Kövecses 2005:67).

Our theory further draws on Coşeriu's (1997) view on language as a means of conveying knowledge and thoughts, being closely related to society, civilisation, thinking, community, politics, etc. A linguistic community would mould and influence the future evolution of a language by accepting, rejecting or adjusting innovation occurring in language.

Furthermore, we also resort to Rodica Zafiu's (2001) research on Romanian journalese, especially the one published after 1989, and her insights into the passage from a "wooden language" used by communist propaganda. In her writings, there is a general critical and deprecating view on the use of metaphors in Romanian journalese, especially after 1989. Zafiu (2001:53) states that one could notice a correspondence between the pretence of thematic ennobling (which is denied to a certain extent by the very democratising of phonemic transcription of lexical loans) and the adorning and extravagant metaphor. …

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