This book presents the results of a large-scale experiment into interpretations of the metaphor “the Nation as a Body” among 1,800+ respondents from 30 linguistic and cultural backgrounds. In this first account of an empirical study of cross-cultural global metaphor interpretation of that scale, Musolff confirms that the meanings of metaphors are complex, culturally mediated and may differ for senders and recipients. The book provides a historical and cultural map of the traditions underlying differences in how the nation as a body – or, “the body politic” – is understood. Musolff challenges the hypotheses of the universality of “the nation” as a predominantly male-gendered and hierarchically organized concept and, in so doing, puts into question some of the key presuppositions of traditional historical and cognitive approaches to metaphor. For scholars and students of figurative language, the book lays out methodological foundations for cross-cultural metaphor comparison and reveals hidden meaning differences in political metaphor in English as lingua franca.
Andreas Musolff is Professor of Intercultural Communication in the School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK. He achieved his doctorate in German Linguistics from the University of Düsseldorf in 1989 and then commenced his career as a Lecturer in German at Aston University, Birmingham, UK, before becoming a Professor of German at Durham University, UK, in 2005. He joined the University of East Anglia in 2010. Andreas has worked as Visiting Fellow/Professor at the University of Heidelberg, the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies, Queen Mary University of London, the Hebrew University, and the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain. His research interests include cultural, cognitive and applied linguistics, metaphorology, critical discourse analysis and intercultural analysis.
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