Dragon and Phoenix metaphors in political and economic discourse

Peggy Wei lun Tsai, Shelley Ching yu Depner

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter investigates long2 (dragon) and feng4 (phoenix) metaphors in political and economic discourse to provide a broader view of animal metaphors in Mandarin Chinese fixed expressions. Data are mainly collected from two corpora: Newspapers in Taiwan Corpus (Platform Provider of Newspapers in Taiwan Corpus, (2011) and Newspaper Information System (National Central Library in Newspaper Information System, (2010). Relevance theory (Sperber and Wilson in Relevance: Communication and Cognition (2nd). Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, (2001) and semantic molecules (Goddard in Selected Papers of the 2006 Annual Meeting of the Australian Linguistic Society, Brisbane, (2007) are the theoretical backgrounds of this work. We attempt to answer the following research questions: (1) What do animal metaphors in political and economic discourse reveal based on relevance theory? (2) Do the results support those of previous metaphor studies on mythical animals? (3) Do the metaphors of two legendary animals, the dragon and phoenix, in political and economic discourse conform to their animal characteristics in the same manner as their semantic molecules? What else do they reflect when contrasted with human life? The results show that dragon and phoenix metaphors in political and economic discourse are mainly used in compliments; are related to descriptions of the process of growth and development in humans; and, when compared with other animal metaphors, those that use the dragon and phoenix meaning relate to magic and idealization.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEmbodiment in Language (II)
Subtitle of host publicationFood, Emotion and Beyond
PublisherSpringer Singapore
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9789811017995
ISBN (Print)9789811017971
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jan 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)


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