A Comparative Study of Fire and Water Metaphor in COVID-19 Reports in Chinese and English

Na Luo, Xiangyong Jiang


The outbreak of COVID-19 came suddenly at the end of 2019, and soon swept the world. People used war metaphor, journey metaphor, water metaphor, fire metaphor etc. to conceptualize COVID-19. This paper aims to compare the universality and variation of the use of water and fire metaphors on COVID-19 reports in Chinese and English websites, by resorting to MIP for quantitative data collection from the People’s Daily Corpus and The Coronavirus Corpus, trying to explore the universality and variation of metaphors for COVID-19. From the perspective of resonance value, the situation of the water and fire metaphors of the epidemic in English and Chinese is entirely similar, and the difference in the water metaphor is greater than that of fire metaphor. The variation is reflected in the selection and distribution of keywords. The roots of these differences can be attributed to the characteristics and structures of the two cultures themselves, as well as the national ideology and emotional attitudes towards the same worldwide event. Therefore, with regards to the style and connotation of metaphorical expression, Chinese tends to use static descriptions that portray the atmosphere and emphasize the subjective initiative of people, while English tends to rely on dynamic depictions that state objectively and illustrate the resistance of the epidemic.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/ijl.v15i6.21529

Copyright (c) 2023 Na Luo, Xiangyong Jiang

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