Conceptual Metaphors of Corruption in Selected Newspapers in Nigeria


Faculty: Arts
Department: English Language & Literature


Olinya, S.A;
Ezeifeka, C;


The use of metaphor, a subtle way of presenting meaning in social discourse and cultural presumption has been a psychological weapon used by politicians in influencing public opinion and projecting whatever they want to be accepted as the truth. This manifests in the arbitrary use of metaphor in creating virtual reality in the polity. This study “Conceptual Metaphors of Corruption in Selected Newspapers in Nigeria” examined the observed conceptual metaphors used by politicians to depict corruption and show the perceived implications for such choices. Fifty six samples of data from the on-line editions of five newspapers in Nigeria; The Guardian, The Vanguard, The Punch , The Sun and The Daily Trust were purposefully selected using the Metaphor Identifiction Procedure by Pragglejaz Group Model. Using an insight from Conceptual Metaphor Theory, the study explored the mapping and the entailment relations between the conceptual domain and corruption in line with the guideline by Cameron , Low and Steen’s Conceptual Metaphor Identification Procedure to establish the conceptual link between corruption and other abstract but evil entities that are ontologically linked with it. The study revealed six conceptual sources; war, disease, human being, vermin, weed and dirt that are used to depict corruption, all which are subsumed under the domain of harm, implicating the urgent need to be addressed and establishing the political leaders as saviours who have come to rescue the people. It concluded that politicians and the media are not just deliberate in their use of these metaphors but are mindful of the type of mapping they want the conceptual metaphor to project. The study further demonstrated that politicians rely on these metaphors of corruption to deceive and manipulate the people to justify their action and activities on their perceived enemies so as to consolidate their position. It therefore advocates for s serious language awareness to both the public, the media and the politicians.