Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education
The language of money: How verbal and visual metonymy shapes public opinion about financial events
Date of this Version
International Journal of Language Studies Volume 7, Number 2, April 2013, pp. 31-60; http://www.ijls.net/
Much recent work on metonymy has concentrated on its definition, properties and functions (Benczes, Barcelona & Ruiz de Mendoza Ibáñez, 2011) but few studies have examined the combination ofverbal and visual metonymy or the benefits of multimodal metonymical analysis in issues of social justice. In this paper eleven news articles regarding issues in financial discourse such as the financial crisis, fiscal cliff, underwater homeowners and entitlements are examined visually and verbally from a variety of online newspaper sources. Results reveal intricate visual and verbal metonymies such as EFFECT FOR CAUSE, RESULT FOR ACTION, INSTITUTION FOR PERSON, DEFINING PROPERTY FOR CATEGORY and BODY PART FOR ACTION that aid in hiding or highlighting events and act as ideology carriers that are difficult to detect. The unique contribution of this article lies not only in the exposure of linguistic/non-linguistic strategies used to mitigate the role of those responsible for the financial crisis, or to shape public opinion on a particular policy or issue, but also in the attention it gives to metonymy's role (in text and image) in the positive representation of corporate America which, we will argue, has resulted in few repercussions for the financial sector.
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