Cognitive pragmatics of American presidential debates: a case for economic metaphors


This article focuses on cognitive-pragmatic properties of conceptual metaphors of ECONOMY in the 21st century American presidential campaigns. In this paper, we aim to elaborate the models of metaphoric conceptualization of ECONOMY, state their functions in terms of discourse strategies, and describe their impact on the opponents and the audience. This research is underpinned by conceptual metaphor theories and ideas of cognitive pragmatics, which postulates the unity of cognitive and communicative aspects of discourse. The benefits of this integrative cognitive-pragmatic approach are in the fact that it can consequently explicate the meaning of speaker’s message and the expected impact of their discourse on the audience. For this aim, we stress the persuasive and manipulative nature of American presidential debates as a mass-media mediated genre of political discourse. Adopting a cognitive-pragmatic perspective on presidential debates, we claim that conceptual metaphors of ECONOMY constitute time and ideology specific conceptual models; their dominant functions are persuasive, informative, and manipulative. In the discourse of the 21st century presidential debates, we distinguish seven leading models of conceptual metaphors of ECONOMY, common for both republican and democratic candidates. The choice of discourse strategies of debate participants depends upon the candidates’ intentions while their impact on the opponent and the audience is influenced by meta-communicative issues of candidates’ communicative behavior and (im)politeness strategies in particular. The 21st century presidential debates are characterized by the abundance of discourse strategies of aggression and impoliteness.


Ключові слова

conceptual metaphor of ECONOMY, cognitive-pragmatic analysis, presidential debate, discourse strategy, (im)politeness

Бібліографічний опис

Shevchenko, Iryna. Cognitive pragmatics of American presidential debates: a case for economic metaphors / I. Shevchenko, T. Goncharova, V. Gutorov // Cognition, communication, discourse. - 2020. - 21. - Р. 36–49. -