An earthquake or a category 4 financial storm? A corpus study of disaster metaphors in the media framing of the 2008 financial crisis

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)


This study investigates the use of disaster metaphors in the American media coverage of the 2008 global financial crisis. More specifically, it aims to examine the role of different sub-metaphors in performing various pragmatic and rhetorical functions in financial news discourse. Using the Metaphor Identification Procedure, this study identifies key words from the 1-million-word corpus which comprised the news articles published from September 15, 2008 to March 15, 2009, and examines the associated concordance lines to discern their metaphorical connotations. The findings show that a wide range of sub-source domains of disaster—namely, wind, storm, and water—metaphors was deployed by journalists to capture the various negative impacts of the financial crisis. These findings suggest that the salient extension and mixing of metaphors could enhance the popularization of specialist financial news discourse. The findings also indicate that the news media was complicit in constructing the collective illusion that the financial crisis was unavoidable and not caused by anyone.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-212
Number of pages22
JournalText and Talk: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Language, Discourse and Communication Studies
Issue number2
Early online date13 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019



  • disaster
  • metaphor
  • financial crisis
  • news discourse
  • corpus linguistics

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