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Turbulence and turmoil in the market or the language of a financial crisis

Author(s): Michael White

Journal: Ibérica
ISSN 1139-7241

Volume: 7;
Start page: 71;
Date: 2004;
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Keywords: economic discourse | journalism | metaphor | journey | fluid dynamics | turbulence | turmoil

In the wake of cognitive linguistics developments, work pointing out the metaphorical underpinning of specialist discourse in many fields is showing a dramatic increase. In Spain alone, this is quite evident in full scale thesis dissertations: Civil Engineering and Urban Development (Roldán Riejos 1995); Economics (White, 1996; Bueno Lajusticia, 1999), Publicity (Cortés del Río, 2001); Architecture (Úbeda, 2000; Caballero Rodriguez, 2001); Science (Cuadrado Esclapez (2001); Mad Cow Disease (Martín de la Rosa, 2002) to give a few examples. Furthering this line of research, the present article focuses on how the press handles a very specific aspect of a financial crisis, namely, the question of extreme fluctuation of currency values. Two lexical items -turbulence and turmoil- are reiteratively used to grasp and convey the nature of this issue to the general public. As metaphor researchers are still finding fundamental issues such as metaphor identification very difficult to pin down, both theoretically and in practice,1 the evidence presented impinges on a significant area in this field, namely, usage whose metaphorical nature is open to question. The article first tackles this question addressing the issue of whether the lexical words turbulence and turmoil are to be considered metaphoric or have they become lexicalised or near lexicalised in the domain of economics. Co-textual evidence argues in favour of metaphoric consideration. A second issue is the question of how metaphoric sources may be attributed to different domains (see Cameron 1999, Kövecses 2000) and how these overlap and work together. Finally, the role of metaphor in underpinning cohesion, coherence and communication is examined.

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