CURRENT METHAPHORS IN LATVIAN POLITICS
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The cognitive theory of metaphor holds that metaphor is not merely a language phenomenon, nor is it only a figure of speech that performs a rhetorical function. A metaphor also has constitutive power - it constitutes meanings, interprets them and frames perception. Metaphors affect our decision making, our choice of alternatives. Metaphors clearly demonstrate the performative power of language. Thus they are a central element of politics, which focuses on power (real and achievable through language); in a sense, metaphors are the essence of politics because through them politics is named, defined and interpreted. Metaphors are used to frame problems, prescribe solutions, reinforce understanding of these solutions and persuade people to accept them. Human thinking is affected by new and creative metaphors, as well as by conventional dead metaphors and contextually changed dead metaphors. Several types of metaphor use can be observed in Latvian politics - expressive use of traditional metaphors; intensive use of some traditional metaphors; enlivening of traditional metaphors, wordplay; novel metaphors that are born in the political process and actively used in it. Many metaphors form extended groups, and thus one can speak of meta-metaphors - e.g., the state/nation compared to the human/human body, a person or place, an enterprise or a ship. Similarly, the meta-metaphors of a spectrum and especially of war pervade Latvian politics.
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