Referential and Evaluative Strategies of Conceptual Metaphor Use in Government Discourse

Kathleen Ahrens, Huiheng Zeng

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


We undertake a corpus-based diachronic analysis in order to explore how leaders in China and Hong Kong have employed metaphors of EDUCATION in major governmental speeches and reports both before and after Hong Kong's handover from Britain to China. The results of this study demonstrate that Hong Kong SAR Chief Executives have similar patterns of source domain selections with Chinese Premiers as compared with Hong Kong Colonial Governors, indicating that the change in sovereignty brought about different ways of referring to education for the people of Hong Kong, with evaluative effects remaining positive overall. These findings demonstrate that diachronic and synchronic comparative analyses of metaphors within small, specialized corpora are useful in uncovering potential sociopragmatic shifts in how political leaders frame social issues.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-96
JournalJournal of Pragmatics
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


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