According to Arutyunova (2002), metaphor is a trope, denoting figurative meaning of a word, based on the assimilation of one object or phenomenon to another; hidden comparison, built on the similarity or contrast of phenomena. In English language business discourse, metaphors are commonly used as a means of conceptualizing ideas about economic realities. The scientific and practical significance and relevance of this research are determined by its innovative nature associated with the pragmatic analysis of a metaphorical interpretation of economic concepts. Metaphors’ analysis in pragmatic aspect is based on contextual understanding of the utterance’s indirect meaning, through which it is possible to comprehend the author’s intention and point of view in terms of the topic he is talking about (Arutyunova, 2002).

Pragmatic analysis of metaphors in modern English economic discourse.

In English discourse, economy is often compared to a human. It can be observed in the metaphorical expressions taken from the weekly newspaper ‘The Economist’ given below. The goals of journalistic discourse are to explain, to have an impact on the audience, to change (or to affirm) the addressee’s point of view towards the definite phenomenon or situation and to convince him. One of the strategies that increases the emotive charge and effectiveness of influence on the reader’s consciousness is using of metaphors. Firstly, economy is often correlated to a human body. In this case, on the one hand, economy can be compatible with a human’s healthy organism that is perceived in the following metaphorical sentences:

America is doing well. This metaphor indicates that the economic situation in America is rather stable and effective and expresses that the author is firmly assured in that fact and has a positive attitude to the topic.

Japanese companies are looking healthy.  In this sentence, the author uses the metaphor ‘healthy company’ which implies that companies in Japan achieve satisfactory revenues and tend to grow and develop, however, the author expresses uncertainty thereby giving the reader a reason for pondering and going deeper into the topic.

On the other hand, as well as a human can have some illness symptoms or diseases, economy can also have different problems. The comparison of economic problems to a human poor physical condition can be observed in following examples:

He vowed to revive a ‘sick economy’. The metaphor ‘sick economy’ displays the corruption and martial law. In the article from ‘The Economist’, this metaphor denotes that Pervez Musharraf, Pakistani politician, makes a promise to the nation after 1999 military takeover to reduce corruption and to stop artillery shootings between India and Pakistan. He uses this metaphor to influence his nation’s consciousness and emotions to make them believe that he will do everything to change the critical position in his country.

The Japanese economy has long seemed allergic to growth. This metaphor explains that there are some circumstances hindering the development of economic growth. For instance, according to the author, in Japan, the amount of export production is abruptly decreasing, consumption is slowing down, and Japanese companies confront dollar devaluation that decreases the income of the company making its products more expensive overseas. The narrator is not assured in his statement that is why he makes the reader analyze all aspects of economic system condition in Japan.

Thirdly, in their articles, authors compare medical treatment with economic measures taken for a definite situation’s amendment.

Equally unclear is how much money the donors actually want to give. In this sentence, the metaphor ‘donors’ indicates the countries that provide with activities aimed at the voluntary organization and supplying aid to a state in need of assistance.  In this case, the so-called Quartet (America, the European Union, Russia, and the UN) has accomplished supporting acts specifically to the Palestinian people due to humanitarian crisis. However, from this context it is possible to understand the author’s cynical attitude to it since he thinks that the investors are ready to help the country in order to get their own profit. 

Besides, economy is often correlated to a war. The following cluster of metaphorical expressions is based on the image of struggle and military operations.

Google, having made many enemies, must now fight many battles. In this case, ‘enemies’ are competitors of the company, and Google has to spare no effort to remain the world’s first search engine. The author has a negative attitude in terms of the company’s policy.

Another phrase, where the economy is compared with a war, belongs to American business magnate Warren Buffett: ‘an economic Pearl Harbor’. This metaphor emphasizes the demolition of economic system in the country. Warren Buffett used this metaphor to describe the US economic condition in 2009 in a result of banking sector collapse, thereby expressing his deep anxiety and concern for the prevention of that issue.


As a result of pragmatic analysis of metaphorical expressions mostly taken from economic media, it was revealed that metaphors are tools of conveying a message specifically codifying and transforming the information. As it can be observed from the above mentioned instances, business publications are saturated with metaphors, by means of which it is possible to perceive and to interpret abstract economic concepts through concrete images and the author’s attitude in terms of mentioned phenomena and to affect the reader’s way of consciousness.

Список литературы

  1. Арутюнова Н.Д., Гутнер Г.Б.— Прагматика / Гуманитарная энциклопедияКонцепты [Электронный ресурс] // Центр гуманитарных технологий, 2002–2020.
  2. Lakoff G. Metaphors We Live By — Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003. С. 256.
  3. Шикалов С. В. Способы перевода метафор в концепции Питера Ньюмарка— М., 2010. С. 156—162.
  4. Каширина Н. А. Особенности перевода метафор в экономической публицистике — М., 2012. С. 153—154.
  5. Степанов Ю. С. Впоисках прагматики — Известия АН СССР, 1981, № 
  6. Демьянков В. З. Прагматические основы интерпретации высказывания.— Известия АН СССР, 1981, № 
  7. The Economist [Electronic resource] — Access mode: www.economist. com.

References in English

  1. Arutyunova N.D., Gutner G.B. — Pragmatics / HumanitarianEncyclopedia: Concepts [Electronic esource] // Center for Humanitarian Technologies, 2002–2020.
  2. Lakoff G. Metaphors We Live By — Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003. P. 256.
  3. Shikalov S.V. [Sposoby perevoda metafor v koncepcii Pitera  Nyumarka] ‘Methods of metaphor translating in Peter Newmark’s concept’ — М., 2010. P. 156—162.
  4. Kashirina N.A. [Osobennosti perevoda metafor v ekonomicheskoj publicistike] ‘Peculiarities of metaphor translation in economic journalism’— М., 2012. P. 153—154.
  5. Stepanov Y. S. [V poiskakh pragmatiki] ‘In search of pragmatics’— USSR, 1981, № 4.
  6. Demjankov V.Z. [Pragmaticheskie osnovy interpretacii vyskazyvanija] ‘Pragmatic foundations of utterance’s interpretation’— USSR, 1981, № 4.
  7. The Economist [Electronic resource] — Access mode: www.economist. com.