Metaphor construction in online motivational posters

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Motivational posters in public spaces are known to be effective in influencing attitudes, but their electronic counterparts have been considered as dubious ‘pop psychology’. The structure and content of these posters, which may relate to their effectiveness, have however not been adequately analyzed from discourse analytic perspectives. This paper examines aspects of metaphor construction in a sample of 900 online motivational posters. Identified metaphor units were coded with variables related to their VEHICLE, TOPIC, and MODE, and relationships between these variables explored. The results (i) suggest metaphor as a common feature of motivational posters, (ii) reveal prominent topics, vehicles, and topic-vehicle pairings, (iii) show that while metaphor units tend to be multi-modally presented, topics tend to be only verbally presented, and (iv) uncover tendencies for particular topics and vehicles to be presented either verbally, visually, or multi-modally. The present approach focuses on interpreting patterns of content and form underlying a larger quantity of data, complementing multimodal metaphor studies which richly explicate a limited set of examples. Implications and future research directions are offered.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-112
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Pragmatics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017


  • Metaphor
  • Motivational posters
  • Multimodality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Artificial Intelligence

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