Conceptual Metaphors and Rhetoric in Barack Obama’s and Xi Jinping’s Diplomatic Discourse in Africa and Europe

  •  Irungu Wageche    
  •  Changhai Chi    


This paper examines the use of conceptual metaphors in Barack Obama’s and Xi Jinping’s diplomatic discourse in both Africa and Europe. Drawing on four speeches, this paper begins by examining the pervasiveness of metaphor utility in the speeches by using Pragglejazz Metaphor Identification Procedure. This paper examines the underlying concepts in the identified metaphors by using Lakoff and Johnson conceptual metaphor framework. Finally, this paper examines the significance of conceptual metaphors as a rhetorical strategy in diplomatic discourse. This paper found out that both Barack Obama and Xi Jinping employed an exceptionally high number of metaphors in their discourse in Africa and Europe. We found out that metaphors used by each leader do form an underlying concept. Barack Obama’s diplomatic discourse embodies journey metaphors while Xi Jinping’s diplomatic discourse embodies nature metaphors. The paper illustrates how both leaders draw on neutral lexical units such as distance, crossroads, pace, path, water, lions, mountains, wells, et cetera and charge them with metaphors as a rhetorical strategy in order to draw African and European audiences closer to their primary message.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1923-869X
  • ISSN(Online): 1923-8703
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: bimonthly

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