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Deliberate conventional metaphor in images: the case of corporate branding discourse

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date2013
JournalMetaphor and Symbol
Number of pages17
Early online date20/06/13
Original languageEnglish


Recent discussions on the use of metaphor have centered on how it may be used in a way that has been said to require mandatory attention to the fact that it is metaphorical, resulting in what has come to be known as deliberate metaphor (Steen, 2008). While metaphor deliberateness and conventionality/novelty are conceptually distinct, associations are likely to exist in practice. This article
focuses on the deliberate use of conventional metaphor in images, by way of examining the use of animate and anthropomorphic metaphors in an instance of corporate branding discourse (i.e., the prospectuses of Singapore’s corporatized universities). Through our analysis, we show that deliberate conventional metaphor serves to reinforce particular conceptualizations rather than effect radical conceptual change. Moreover, we discuss visual and multimodal metaphor as deliberate if used in carefully crafted texts and draw on the notion of an image’s connotative meaning to point out how such deliberateness can be further accentuated. The article concludes by discussing some implications for how the degree of conventionality is likely to have an effect on how deliberate metaphor achieves its key objective of changing addressees’ concepts of a particular Target.