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Revista signos

versión On-line ISSN 0718-0934


SKORCZYNSKA, Hanna. A case study of building and animal metaphors in specialized discourse: Are scholars’ metaphorical conceptualizations represented in discourse?. Rev. signos [online]. 2015, vol.48, n.87, pp.121-144. ISSN 0718-0934.

This study provides corpus-based evidence for the claim that metaphorical conceptualizations postulated by scholars in a particular discipline are expressed in specialized discourse. Scholars often propose alternative metaphors to address particular issues, and these metaphors may become more or less linguistically productive in specialized discourse. This corpus-based study looks into project management discourse to find evidence of two conceptual metaphors, proposed by scholars to enhance the understanding and management of real-life projects. The Chinese wall metaphor (Angling, 1988) was first postulated to depict situations in which several projects are managed simultaneously in a stone wall building-like manner. The alternative Chinese dragon metaphor (Eskerod, 1996) was later proposed to highlight the complexity and unpredictability of multi-project management. This study follows Philip’s (2010) method to identify conceptual metaphors or metaphor themes in specialized discourse. The corpus of nearly 400,000 words used in this study included research papers as well as periodical journal articles. The results show a higher frequency and a broader range of metaphorical expressions for the animal theme, including the Chinese dragon metaphor. The study discusses how metaphor-based theoretical claims are reflected in specialized discourse and the consequences for management practices.

Palabras clave : Metaphor; specialized discourse; building metaphor; animal metaphor.

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