Metaphorical Conceptualization of WAR in Chinese Sports Discourse

Keywords: concept, metaphor, sport discourse, frame, slot.


The purpose of the article is to analyze the verbally expressed phenomenon of the metaphorical model SPORT IS WAR in the Chinese sports media discourse, to describe the ways of its conceptualization and to investigate the peculiarities of its functioning.

Methods. Through the linguo-cognitive and quantitative analysis of a representative sample of Chinese texts of sports discourse, the dominant concept of which was SPORT, there was identified the following system of metaphorical models: SPORT IS WAR, SPORT IS THEATER, SPORT IS FAMILY and SPORT IS WAY OF LIFE. The method of metaphorical modeling was chosen as the main method of empirical research of the metaphorical model SPORT IS WAR. Attention was focused on the definition of the main models of conceptual sports metaphor, which have a frame-slot structure, where were revealed the linguistic means of its reproduction.

Results. There have been studied structural and semantic properties of sports metaphor in Chinese media discourse, the expansion source of which is the conceptual sphere of WAR. In the article there was presented a structural analysis of the frames in which sporting events and their participants are presented as warriors on the battlefield, striving for victory, which is a metaphorical rethinking of the undisputed thirst for victory. It has been found that the metaphorical model SPORT IS WAR in Chinese sports discourse is represented by three main frames: «Hostilities», «Results of war», «Warriors». Within each frame, there were highlighted the main slots, described their lexical content, determined the communicative functions of the metaphorical model SPORT IS WAR in the Chinese sports discourse and clarified the reasons for its activation.

Conclusions. The frame-slot structure of the metaphorical model SPORT IS WAR, presented in Chinese media discourse, reflects a strong desire and will to win and absolute rejection of defeat, and indicates the intensification of the studied metaphorical model in the period of the expansion of China’s global hegemonic strategy. It was found that in the objectification of the concepts of the conceptual sphere of SPORT, which reflect the victory of Chinese players, dominates the positive evaluative metaphors describing the hostilities, its participants and the results of the confrontation, and negative evaluative metaphors are used for intensifying the deafest of the opponents. Although sport activity a priori aimed at emphasizing the best human qualities, its personal development and called upon for showing the respect to all participants, still in Chinese sports discourse this process is more and more taken by addressers and recipients as warfare. Hereby, metaphorical conceptualization of WAR in Chinese sports discourse is indisputable and defined by paralinguistic peculiarities of military and sport activities, which despite of their visual difference have certain conceptual similarity.



Download data is not yet available.


Alekseev, K. (1998). Vospriyatiye metaphory i ego vidy [The perception of Metaphor and its varieties]. Extended abstract of Candidate’s thesis. Moscow [in Russian].

Arutyunova, N.D. (1990). Teoriya metafory [Theory of Matephor]. Moscow: Progress [in Russian].

Babushkin, A.P. (1997). Tipy kontseptov v leksiko-frazeologicheskoy semantike yazyka, ikh lichnostnaya i natsionalnaya spetsifika [Types of concepts in the lexical and phraseological semantics of the language, their personal and national specifics]. Doctor’s thesis. Voronezh [in Russian].

Baranov, A. (2008). Politicheskaya metaforika publicisticheskogo teksta: vozmozhnostu lingvisticheskogo monitoring. In M.N. Volodyna (Ed.), Political Metaphor of the Journalistic Text: The possibilities of Linguistic Monitoring – Media language as an object of interdisciplinary research (pp. 394–401). Moscow: MGU [in Russian].

Black, M. (1977). More about metaphor. Dialectica, 31(3–4), 431–457.

Bruenner, G. (1987). Metaphern fuer Sprache und Kommunikation in Alltag und Wissenschaft. Diskussion Deutsch, 18, 110–119.

Brugman, B., Burgers, Ch., & Vis, B. (2019). Metaphorical framing in political discourse through words vs. concepts: A meta-analysis. Language and Cognition, 11(1), 41–65.

Charteris-Black, J. (2004). Corpus approaches to critical metaphor analysis. Basingstoke: Palgra Macmillan UK.

Cheng, Yuxiao (2020). Obraz Kitaya v rossijskich SMI: Lingvokognitivnyi aspekt [The image of China in Russian Mass-media: Linguo-cognitive aspect]. Extended abstract of Candidate’s thesis [in Russian].

Chudinov, A.P. (2001). Sportivnaja metafora v sovremennom rossijskom politicheskom diskurse [Sports metaphor in contemporary Russian political discourse]. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Serija «Ligvistika i mezhkulturnaja kommunikacija» – Bulletin of Volgograd State University. Linguistics and Intercultural Communication Series, 2, 26–31.

Chudinov, A., & Budayev, E. (2007). Kognitivnaya teoriya metafory na sovremennom etape razvitiya [The cognitive theory of metaphor at the present stage of development]. Voprosy Kognitivnoy Lingvistiki – Questions of Cognitive Linguistics, 4, 54–57 [in Russian].

Citron, F.M.M., Lee, M., & Michaelis, N. (2020). Affective and psycholinguistic norms for German conceptual metaphors (COMETA). Behavior Research Methods, 52, 1056–1072.

Fauconnier, G., & Turner, M. (2002). The Way We Think. Basic Books: A Member of the Perseus Books Group.

Fillmore, C., & Baker, C. (2019). A Frames Approach to Semantic Analysis. In B. Heine, & H. Narrog (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Linguistic Analysis (pp. 313–340). Oxford: Oxford Un-ty Press.

Gibbs R., & Chen E. (2018). Metaphor and the automatic mind. Metaphor and the Social World, 8(1), 40–63.

Gudkov, D.D. (1994). Metafora i ratsionalnost kak problema sotsialnoy epistalogii [Metaphor and rationality as a problem of social epistalogy]. Moscow: Rusina [in Russian].

Hardy, V. (2003). Metaphoric Myth in the Representation of Hispanics. A Thesis for the degree of Master of Arts. Washington: Georgetown University. URL:;jsessionid=87A1A9E70BD96CA3B9E2C5D648BDD6DB?doi=

Kobozeva, I. (2001). Sematicheskie problem analiza politicheskoi metafory. Vestnik Moskovskogo universiteta – Bulletin of Moscow University, 6, 136–137.

Kuan-Chung, Huang, & Ming-Yu, Tseng (2020). The creative use of defeat is control in metaphors for sport: A study of NBA news headlines written in Chinese. Journal of Language and Linguistic Studies, 16(1), 14–29.

Kubryakova, Ye., Demyankov, V., Pankratov, Yu., & Luzina, L. (1996). Kratkiy slovar kognitivnykh terminov [A Brief Dictionary of Cognitive Terms]. Moscow: Izd-vo Mosk. gos. un-ta [in Russian].

Lakoff, G., & Johnson, M. (2003). Metaphors We Live By. Chicago: Chicago University Press.

Lawrence, W., & John, A. Bargh. (2008). Experiencing physical warmth promotes interpersonal warmth. Science, 322(5901), 606–607.

Lopez-Gonzalez, H., Guerrero-Solé, F., Estévez, A., & Griffiths, M. (2018). Betting is Loving and Bettors are Predators: A Conceptual Metaphor Approach to Online Sports Betting Advertising. Journal of Gambling Studies, 34, 709–726.

Malysheva, Ye. G. (2011). Russkiy sportivnyy diskurs: teoriya i metodologiya lingvokognitivnogo issledovaniya [Russian sports discourse: Theory and methodology of linguistic-cognitive research]. Doctor’s thesis. Omsk [in Russian].

Orwell, G. (1950). The Sporting Spirit. URL:

Ponterotto, D. (2014). Studies in Conceptual Metaphor Theory. Roma: Raffaele Garofalo.

Raffaelli, D. (2016). A Discourse Approach to Conceptual Metaphors: a Corpus-based Analysis of Sports Discourse in Croatian. Studia Linguistica Universitatis Iagellonicae Cracoviensis, 133, 125–147.

Rasse, C., Onysko, O., & Citron, F (2020). Conceptual metaphors in poetry interpretation: A psycholinguistic approach. Language and Cognition, 12, 310–342.

Shilyaev, K., & Shlotgauer, E (2020). Visualizing conceptual metaphors in print wine advertising. Vestnik Tomskogo gosudarstvennogo unoversiteta – Bulletin of Tomsk State University. Philology Series, 67, 154–173.

Silva, Priscilla Chantal Duarte (2020). Pandemic metaphors: bibliometric study of the COVID-19 (co)llateral effects. Research, Society and Development, 9(11), e7809119636.

Sternberg, R.J. (1992). Metaphors of Mind Underlying the Testing of Intelligence. In J.C. Rosen, & P. McReynolds (Eds.), Advances in Psychological Assessment. (Vol. 8), (Chapter 1, pp. 1–39). Springer, Boston, MA.

Tuguz, E. (2014). Nominatsii bolelshchikov v sportivnom diskurse [Nominations of fans in sports discourse]. Vestnik Kemerovskogo Gosudarstvennogo Universiteta – Bulletin of the Kemerovo State University, 1, 152–155 [in Russian].

Ullmann, S. (1972). Semantics: An Introduction of the Science of Meaning. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

Wang, Qinlong 王勤玲 (2005). Gainina yinyu lilun yu gainian zhenghe lilun de duibi yanjiu 概念隐喻理论与概念整合理论的对比研究 [A comparative study of conceptual metaphor theory and conceptual integration theory]. Waiyuxuekan 外语学刊 – The Foreign Language Journal, 1, 42–46.

Yang, Yun, & Zhou, Changle 杨芸, & 周昌乐. (2007). Hanyu yinyu de yuyan xingshi tezheng ji qi dui yinyu jiqi yanjiu de yingxiang 汉语隐喻的语言形式特征及其对隐喻机器理解研究的影响 [The linguistic features of Chinese metaphor and its influence on the research of metaphor machine understanding]. Xinzhi yu jisuan心智与计算 – Mind and Computation, 4, 458–464.

Yin, Rong, Su, Dequan, & Ye, Haosheng 殷融, 苏得权, & 叶浩生 (2013). Jushen renzhi shijiaoxia de gainian yinyu lilun 具身认知视角下的概念隐喻理论) [Conceptual metaphor theory from the perspective of embodied cognition]. Xinli kexue jinzhan 心理科学进展 – Psychological Science Evolution, 21, 220–234.

Zalevskaya, A. (1999). Vvedennie v psiholongvistiku [Introduction to Psycholinguistics]. Moscow: RGGU [in Russian].

Abstract views: 488
PDF Downloads: 352
How to Cite
Vorobei, O., Akimova, A., & Akimova, A. (2021). Metaphorical Conceptualization of WAR in Chinese Sports Discourse. PSYCHOLINGUISTICS, 29(2), 25-45.