Hello! I would like to share an article that appeared yesterday in our local newspaper, the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin. The author writes a daily column called Etcetera highlighting local news stories. She is an old friend of mine and helped me put this article together about my research, the blog and my book. Thanks Annie!
Etcetera – 6/4/13
By Annie Charnley Eveland
Metaphor Book a Labor of Love Written with Blood, Sweat and Tears
During the 2008 presidential campaign, Walla Wallan Andrew J. Gallagher tuned in to the constant barrage of metaphors such as “playing hardball,” “a flood of immigrants,” “the economy has collapsed,” “candidates are neck and neck” and “the election is going down to the wire.”
So when the Walla Walla Community College instructor took a six-month sabbatical he began researching political metaphors.
In mid-April, Andy presented his research at the annual conference of the International Linguistics Association in New York City.
He wanted to use a book that described such metaphors as a teaching tool for his students of English as a second language, but found such a book did not exist — yet. That’s when he decided to write one.
Andy said he looked for political metaphors while researching hundreds of news-magazine articles, speech transcripts and thousands of hours of TV news broadcasts. He aimed to find a few hundred metaphors but thousands came out instead. Over a four-year span, he analyzed and categorized them in his spare time on nights and weekends.
The result is his book, “Metaphors in American Politics,” with more than 2,000 examples in 54 categories of source domains from all aspects of life.
“For instance,” he said, “elections are often compared to other intense competitions such as horse racing, poker, sports, boxing and war, e.g., ‘politics is a high-stakes game,’ ‘that speech was a home run,’ ‘the candidates took the gloves off in that debate,’ or ‘the bill was torpedoed in Congress.’ We also use metaphors based on experiences with nature, animals, shapes, temperature, etc., such as the ‘fiscal cliff,’ the ‘yoke of slavery,’ the ‘housing bubble,’ or the ‘Cold War.’”
Andy added that “many metaphors are created based on bodily experience, or how we use our bodies, heads, arms, hands, etc. in everyday life, e.g., ‘take a stand on an issue,’ ‘face the problem,’ ‘reach across the aisle,’ or ‘have a goal within our grasp.’ Other metaphors are based on physical actions used to describe abstract processes, e.g., ‘pull out the troops,’ ‘push the bill through Congress,’ ‘cut the budget,’ ‘slash the deficit,’ or ‘ratchet up the pressure.’”
Andy originally wrote the book to benefit ESL teachers and students but said K-12 English teachers and students and college-level students of English, political science, journalism, communications or linguistics would find it useful, too.
Authors of the 1980 book “Metaphors We Live By,” George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, provided theories on which Andy based his research.
He’s currently seeking a publisher for the book. He has been writing a blog to share the research at www.politicalmetaphors.com. He also plans to attend several conferences on linguistics and language teaching this year and in 2014.
Andy has earned a master’s in linguistics, a master of education in adult education and a Ph.D. in English. He also studied briefly with Mark Johnson at the University of Oregon and is trained to analyze metaphors in everyday English. He has worked at the Washington State Penitentiary WWCC campus for 16 years, teaching classes of English as a second language, adult basic education and general educational development.
He can be reached through his blog or at email@example.com.