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La spécificité de la métaphore journalistique: Analyses thématique, comparative et distributive
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of French, Italian and Classical Languages.
2004 (French)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The use of metaphors is one of main elements distinguishing the styles of Le Monde and L’Express. The main purpose of this thesis is to show in detail how their respective uses of metaphors differ. The corpus examined consists of the Culture, Economics, Domestic and Overseas sections in 13 issues each of Le Monde and L’Express, ranging from March, 1997 to February, 1998.

A metaphor consists of one sequence that semantically deviates from its context (designated the metaphorizing term), and another sequence (designated the metaphorized term). The connexion between these two sequences is created by one or more semes.

An analysis of a group of frequent metaphorizing terms, on the one hand, and of less frequent metaphorizing terms, on the other hand, revealed significant differences between these newspapers: Le Monde used the first group more often than L’Express, and L’Express the second group considerably more often than Le Monde. Since certain sections are favoured by the two newspapers as regards the use of metaphors, Le Monde favouring the Economics and L’Express the Culture section, this pointed to certain lexical regularities. This indication was confirmed after classifying the metaphorized terms into five categories, each syntactically linked to the metaphorizing terms. Since whole categories are to be found mainly under certain sections (e.g. the category Abstract under the Domestic and Overseas sections, and the category Collectivities under the Economics section), many metaphors will in one and the same section have the same metaphorizing terms connected to metaphorized terms from one specific category, frequently even employing the same lexical item. These lexical regularities (rather than collocations, given that they occur in a particular type of discourse, that of journalistic prose) occur more frequently in Le Monde, which thus acquires a more conventional character, as far as the use of metaphors is concerned.

Two additional phenomena enhance the more exuberant use of metaphors by L’Express, namely the use of metaphors not exhibiting a syntactic link between the two terms (often called metaphors in absentia), and the use of spun metaphors, i.e. metaphors where a metaphor is expanded by using more than one metaphorizing term from the same generic field, generally referring to the same metaphorized term. In both cases, L’Express produced a larger number of metaphors and more original ones than Le Monde.

A short section of the thesis investigates the various syntactic links joining metaphorizing and metaphorized terms. It turns out that, irrespective of newspaper, the constructions noun + de + noun and noun + adjective prevail, whereas complement and apposition are very rarely used.

The use of metaphors as a means of argumentative strategies and their textual distribution are analysed in a study covering all the metaphors from eight articles per newspaper (headlines included). This investigation shows a concentration of metaphors in Le Monde in the introductory and concluding parts of the articles, together with the subheadings, while L’Express distributes metaphors more evenly throughout its articles. Metaphor as part of argumentative strategies was more frequently to be found in L’Express.

In order to find out whether the metaphorizing terms found in these newspapers are used to the same extent in fiction, 13 recent French novels were examined for metaphors occurring five or more times in the original corpus. In view of the general character of most of the journalistic metaphorizing terms, it could well be expected that they would be used in other types of discourse, as well. However, the overall results indicate that the metaphorizing terms used in newspapers seldom find their way into fiction. Nevertheless, metaphors seem to play an interesting part in defining what we call style, not only in fiction but also in non-fiction genres such as journalistic prose.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Institutionen för franska, italienska och klassiska språk , 2004. , 262 p.
Forskningsrapporter / Stockholms universitet, Institutionen för franska och italienska: cahiers de la recherche, ISSN 1654-1294 ; 25
Keyword [en]
metaphor, newspapers, metaphorizing terms, generic fields, categories of metaphorized terms, frequencies, syntax, distribution, argumentative strategies, fiction
National Category
Specific Languages
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-139ISBN: 91-85059-06-4OAI: diva2:190002
Public defence
2004-05-28, hörsal 9, hus D, Universitetsvägen 10, Stockholm, 14:00
Available from: 2004-05-06 Created: 2004-05-06Bibliographically approved

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