This blog developed out of a desire to share my research on how metaphors are used in American politics.  I studied metaphors for years as part of my training in linguistics.   Back in 2008 when Barack Obama was first running for president, I noticed that metaphors were very commonly used in news broadcasts about politics.  For example, broadcasters said that the candidates were neck and neck, or they were down to the wire. I thought I should buy a book describing these metaphors so that I could teach them to my students of ESL (English as a Second Language).

After a thorough search, I was surprised to learn that there was no such book.  About the same time, I was lucky enough to get a six-month sabbatical from my teaching position.  I decided to write the book myself.

Originally I thought I would find a few hundred metaphors and be able to research and write the entire book before my sabbatical ended.  However, the more data I collected, the more I realized that it would be a huge project.  After four years of working on the project nights and weekends, my database grew to include more than 2000 metaphors in 54 different categories.

I compiled all of my examples and analyses into a book and spent many years trying to find a publisher.  However, I was always told that it was too specialized, so I was never able to publish it. In the meantime, I learned that writing a blog can help a new author develop an audience for his or her books.  Even though I was not able to publish the book, I have continued to share my research for free with this blog.  I have had over 900,000 views from 198 countries!  Please share this blog with friends and family members who might be interested. Feel free to add questions or comments.  Thank you for your interest and support!

9 thoughts on “About

  1. During my MA-TESOL studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, I developed an interest in metaphor as just one aspect of critical applied linguistics (e.g., Pennycook (2001), Fairclough (2001), Janks (1997), Norton (2005). This pursuit led me first to Robin Lakoff and then of course to her former spouse George Lakoff, and his (along with Mark Johnson) seminal “Metaphors We Live By”. During the second 2004 presidential campaign Lakoff published “Don’t Think of an Elephant.” This little paperback is simply brilliant in its deconstruction of conservatives’ strategic naming of Bush Administration policies; for example the euphemism “The Clean Air Act” which basically defunded the EPA. In this book Lakoff laid out a simple plan for progressives to “reframe” the issues in an effort to express and present progressive values to undecided voters.
    I still have an interest in how language works (e.g., passive voice, modality, article choice, etc.) for the upper classes to wield power to maintain the economic status quo, and how ESL learners in the working classes can use language to resist power. I will be studying your website and looking forward to your book.
    Thomas Burgert, MA-TESOL
    Huntington Beach, Ca.

    1. Thanks for the thoughtful comment. I am glad that you find the blog posts worthwhile. I, too, am a big fan of all of Lakoff’s work, including his book, “Don’t Think of an Elephant.” I hope to have the time some day to write more lengthy summaries of some important works on metaphors. If you have any specific questions about political metaphor usage, please let me know!

  2. Hi Thomas, Go MIIS! I’m working there now as adjunct and do workshops for the MIIS graduage ESL teachers on pronunciation and intonation. Small world, isn’t it?
    Hi Andrew…we meet again. I posted your Lyndon Johnson article on my Facebook page: facebook.com/peggy.tharpe (or something like that). And a friend, retired teacher, commented with a link to an article she had just read about metaphors used by MLK. I followed the link, and here I am again! It seems to be our day to connect.

  3. I just watched an interview with George Lakoff and am interested in learning more about this topic, political metaphors, specifically in the way that Trump and the Republican party use them to spin what they wish the population to believe.

    1. Hello! Thanks for your interest in my blog. Sadly both Republicans and Democrats manipulate language to achieve their political goals. I have a few posts about Donald Trump in recent months if you would like to learn more about his rhetorical styles and metaphor usage. If you have any specific questions, please let me know!

  4. Thanks for this very enriching and enlightening blog. I’m really interested in conceptual metaphors and am trying to analyse Trump’s speeches, I would appreciate it if you could guide me to your recent posts about his rhetorical styles and metaphor usage.

    1. Hello Dalia! Thanks for your comment. Three of my last four posts were about Donald Trump. The simplest way to find these posts or any mention of Trump is by using the search function on the bottom left part of the screen. Any and all posts concerning Trump will come up in your browser. If you have any specific questions about my research, please let me know!

  5. Hi. I am a protegee of George Lakoff and a practitioner of cognitive linguistics and political framing. I just “tripped over” your website and would love to collaborate! You can find my work at reframingamerica.substack.com! Your compendium here will be an excellent resource for me.

    1. Hello Antonia! Thanks for your interest in my blog! I just read your recent post about the myths and realities of our economy. Nicely done! I agreed with every word! I just became a subscriber! Unfortunately, I don’t put much effort into my blog anymore. Between my busy work schedule and some minor health problems, I don’t have the time or energy to keep it up. I haven’t written a post in months. And yet, I have been running the blog for 10 years this month (!) and have had over 1 million views (!!), so I guess it has proven useful. A lot of high school and college students use my blog to do their homework… It costs me a few hundred dollars per year to keep it up but as long as it’s useful, I will leave it up. Feel free to use any research I have on my blog. Cheers!

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