Ideological influence on BUILDING metaphors in Taiwanese presidential speeches

Louis Wei Lun Lu, Kathleen Virginia Ahrens

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)


This article studies the conceptual metaphor A COUNTRY IS A BUILDING in Taiwanese presidential speeches. Two culture-specific metaphor patterns are identified as being unusually productive in the corpora: retrospective BUILDING metaphors and RECONSTRUCTION metaphors. These clusters of BUILDING metaphors deviate from the BUILDING metaphors reported in previous literature at two levels. At the conceptual level, retrospective BUILDING metaphors include FORERUNNERS ARE BUILDERS and PAST HISTORY IS FOUNDATION, and RECONSTRUCTION metaphors involve COMMUNISTS ARE DESTROYERS and THE COMMUNIST TAKEOVER IS DESTRUCTION. At the ideological level, history puts such metaphor uses into perspective as rhetorical strategies employed by Kuomintang presidents to instill a Chinese ideology. The Democratic Progressive Party president, by contrast, tries to replace such metaphors with alternatives, which results in his overall low number of BUILDING metaphors. These different framing strategies reflect the manipulation of metaphors to appropriate ideological issues to each presidents' respective political advantage.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-408
Number of pages26
JournalDiscourse and Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • CDA
  • Conceptual metaphor
  • Frame
  • Ideology
  • Political discourse
  • Presidential speeches
  • Social context
  • Taiwan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Linguistics and Language


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