JoLIE 10:2/2017


Back to issue page







Teodora Popescu

1 Decembrie 1918 University of Alba Iulia, Romania






This article has emerged as part of the research project titled “Universals and variants of English and Romanian business metaphors. A corpus-based conceptual mapping of contemporary journalese”, financed by the Romanian National Authority for Scientific Research and Innovation (CNCS-UEFISCDI). The whole research is based on the hypothesis that cognitive metaphors are instantiations of cultural categories manifested in the language spoken by the community that shares a common set of characteristics within a given cultural matrix, and that metaphors clustered in cognitive categories account for cultural categories, both in terms of conceptual universals and variants, resulting in a complex mapping of interrelated cross-connections (Popescu 2012, 2015a, 2015b). The current analysis will focus on conceptualisations of economy as they were identified in British and Romanian press. The research was carried out on two corpora which were self-made and included newspapers such as: The Economist, The Financial Times, The Guardian, and The Telegraph for the British corpus; and Adevărul, Adevărul Financiar, Business Magazin, Gândul, Capital, România Liberă and Ziarul Financiar for the Romanian corpus.


Key words: Business metaphors; Conceptual Metaphor Theory (CMT); Contemporary business journalese; Corpus-based approach; Cultural variation; economy conceptualisation.





Aitchinson, J. (1994). Words in the mind: An introduction to the mental lexicon. Oxford & Cambridge, MA: Blackwell.


Charteris-Black, J. (2004). Corpus approaches to critical metaphor analysis. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.


Charteris-Black, J., & Musolff, A. (2003). 'Battered hero' or 'innocent victim'? A comparative study of metaphors for euro trading in British and German financial reporting. English for Specific Purposes, 22, 153-176. DOI:


Cerban, M. (2014). A Semantic Interpretation of Grammatical Metaphor. Analele Universităţii din Craiova. Seria Ştiinţe filologice. Lingvistică, 1-2, 213-219.


Coşeriu, E. (2000-2001). Creaţia metaforică în limbaj. Dacoromania, 11-33. Retrieved from


Goatly, A. (1997). The language of metaphors. New York: Routledge.


Geertz, C. (1973). The interpretation of cultures: selected essays. New York: Basic Books.


Glucksberg, S. (1999). Metaphor. In R. Wilson, & K. Frank (Eds.), MIT Encyclopedia of the Cognitive Sciences (pp. 535-537). Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.


Goddard, C., & Wierzbicka, A. (Eds.) (1994). Semantic and lexical universals: theory and empirical findings. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. DOI:


Hofstede, G. (1997). Cultures and organizations: Software of the mind (1st ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill USA.


Jackendoff, R. (2007). Language, consciousness, culture: essays on mental structure. Cambridge, CA: MIT Press.


Kachru, B.B., & Kahane, H. (1995). Cultures, ideologies, and the dictionary: studies in honor of Ladislav Zgusta. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag.


Kövecses, Z. (2005). Metaphor in culture. Universality and variation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Kövecses, Z. (2010). Metaphor. A practical introduction. New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Lakoff, G. (1993). The contemporary theory of metaphor. In A. Ortony (Ed.), Metaphor and thought (2nd ed., pp. 202-251). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Lakoff, G., & Johnson, M. (1980). Metaphors we live by. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.


Palmer, G.B. (1996). Toward a theory of cultural linguistics. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.


Popescu, T. (2012). Business metaphors: A case study of Peugeot advertisements in different languages. Journal of Linguistic and Intercultural Education - JoLIE, 5, 109-124. DOI:


Popescu, T. (2015a). Business metaphors explained. In T. Popescu, & G.-D. Iordăchescu (Eds.), Universals and variants of English and Romanian business metaphors. A corpus-based conceptual mapping of contemporary journalese from a pedagogical approach. Proceedings of Project kick-off meeting (pp. 13-21). București: Editura Didactică și Pedagogică.


Popescu, T. (2015b). A Corpus Analysis of TIME Metaphors in British and Romanian Business Press. In T. Popescu, & G.-D. Iordăchescu (Eds.), Universals and variants of English and Romanian business metaphors. A corpus-based conceptual mapping of contemporary journalese from a pedagogical approach. Proceedings of Project kick-off meeting (pp. 22-49). București: Editura Didactică și Pedagogică.


Popescu T. (2017, in press). The Business English Language Curriculum. Cluj-Napoca: Argonaut.


Pragglejaz Group (2007). MIP: A Method for Identifying Metaphorically used Words in Discourse. Metaphor and Symbol, 22(1), 1-39. DOI: 10.1080/10926480709336752


Quinn, N., & Holland, D. (1987). Culture and cognition. In D. Holland, & N. Quinn (Eds.), Cultural Models in Language and Thought (pp. 3-40). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Stefanowitsch, A. (2006). Corpus-based approaches to metaphor and metonymy. In A. Stefanowitsch, & S. Gries (Eds.), Corpus-based approaches to metaphor and metonymy (pp. 1–16). Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.


Wang et al. (2013). Economy is an organism - a comparative study of metaphor in English and Russian economic discourse. Text and Talk 33(2), 259-288. DOI:


Wierzbicka, A. (1992). Semantics, culture, and cognition: universal human concepts in culture-specific configurations. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Wierzbicka, A. (1997). Understanding Cultures through Their Key Words English, Russian, Polish, German, and Japanese. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Zafiu, R. (2001). Diversitate stilistică în româna actuală. Bucureşti: Editura Universităţii din Bucureşti.


Online analysis instruments:


Online Cambridge Dictionary:


DEX online:


WordNet database:


Hofstede Insights


British English corpus:


Abbreviations used:

EC – The Economist

FT – The Financial Times

GU – The Guardian

TG – The Telegraph


Crying foul in Guinea. Africa’s largest iron-ore mining project has been bedevilled by dust-ups and delays. (2014, December 6). The Economist. Retrieved from


Europe’s banks are in decent shape—but that is not enough to repair its economy. (2014, October 30). The Economist. Retrieved July 27, 2016, from


Fitter yet fragile. Ireland’s success in attracting foreign investment has its drawbacks. (2013, January 5). The Economist. Retrieved from


If America falls over the “fiscal cliff”, it would suffer a fiscal squeeze of 5% of GDP, easily enough to push the economy into recession. (2012, June 16). The Economist. Retrieved from


Inman, P. (2013, 8 August). UK economic growth will strengthen for rest of 2013, say experts. The Guardian. Retrieved July 27, 2016, from


Inman, P., Elliott L., & Nardelli, A. (2015, July 2). IMF says Greece needs extra €60bn in funds and debt relief. The Guardian. Retrieved from


Jones, C. (2015, June 1). Negative rates turn Eurozone’s banking topsy-turvy. The idea of being paid to borrow — or charged to save — is spooky to most people. The Financial Times. Retrieved May 29, 2016, from


Mander, B., & Rathbone, J. P. (2014, December 30). Argentina’s banking talent stays away. Émigré financiers carve out a niche on Wall Street but steer clear of stuttering economy at home. The Financial Times. Retrieved June 14, 2016, from


Mend the money machine. The woes of small businesses in Italy and Spain threaten to be the next twist in the euro saga. (2013, May 4). The Economist. Retrieved July 27, 2016, from


Pearson, S. (2014, July 25). Brazil injects $20bn into banking sector. Stimulus designed to boost credit in flagging economy. The Financial Times. Retrieved May 29, 2016, from


Ping Chan, S. (2015, February 28). Colombia: from failed state to Latin American powerhouse. The Telegraph. Retrieved May 21, 2016, from


Raising a half-full glass to Renzi. Businesspeople are cautiously optimistic about the Italian prime minister’s promises to make their lives easier. (2014, June 28). The Economist. Retrieved from


Straitened circumstances. Weaker growth exposes the downside of ties with China. (2015, November 14). The Economist. Retrieved July 27, 2016, from


Romanian corpus:


Abbreviations used:

AF – Adevărul financiar

BM – Business Magazin

CA – Capital

ZF – Ziarul financiar


Amariei, R. (2013, February 13). Statul bagă bețe fiscale în roatele economiei. Capital. Retrieved from


Bodârlău, M. (2014, October 9). Cum a ajuns Spania una dintre cele mai mari victime ale crizei. Ziarul financiar. Retrieved July 27, 2016, from


Ciriperu, D. (2013, September 24). Numărul de companii active, la cel mai ridicat nivel din 2009. Ziarul financiar. Retrieved from


Cîtu, F. (2015, April 13). Politica monetară și economia reală. Capital. Retrieved July 27, 2016, from


Cojocar, A. (2013, November 17). Sidex a redevenit „gaura neagră“ de la privatizare din cauza crizei. Ziarul financiar. Retrieved from


Lista mândriei naționale: antreprenorii și managerii de succes din diaspora românească. (2015, March 10). Adevărul financiar. Retrieved from


Manu, F. (2015, June 30). Ce au fost și ce-au ajuns – giganți ai Epocii de Aur, între companii străine, subzistență la Stat și investiții timide. Adevărul financiar. Retrieved from


Medrega, C. (2013, August 14). Exporturile au susținut economia în primul semestru, dar din păcate consumul și investițiile nu dau semne de revenire. Ziarul financiar. Retrieved from


Mirea, C. (2014, February 19). Supracalificarea tinerilor români: sunt absolvenți de facultate, dar lucrează ca barmani, ospătari, promoteri sau în call center. Business Magazin. Retrieved from


Mirea, C. (2015, March 11). Un francez și-a făcut o afacere de 40 de milioane de euro cu 1.000 de angajați din cel mai sărac județ al Moldovei. Business Magazin. Retrieved from


Năstase, A. (2015, April 14). Cealaltă față a crizei: noua creștere a francului elvețian, de bun augur pentru Banca Transilvania. Adevărul financiar. Retrieved from


Năstase, A. (2015, April 21). Românii din diaspora sunt așteptați să revină acasă la cârma propriilor afaceri. Adevărul financiar. Retrieved from


Osman, O. (2013, August 26). Cea mai utopică promisiune: salariul minim de 1.000 de lei. Capital. Retrieved from


Osman, O. (2014, January 18). Bani pentru liniștea băncilor și neliniștea clienților lor. Capital. Retrieved from


Pirloiu, M. (2013, July 22). Încă un motor al economiei mondiale s-a defectat. Capital. Retrieved from


Şerban, C. (2015, October 5). Dacă nici în 2016, atunci când? Capital. Retrieved from



How to cite this article: Popescu, T. (2017). Metaphorical conceptualisations of ECONOMY in Romanian and British business press. Journal of Linguistic and Intercultural Education – JoLIE, 10(2), 93-110. DOI:



For details on subscription, go to:



[1] This work was supported by a grant of the Romanian National Authority for Scientific Research and Innovation, CNCS – UEFISCDI, project number PN-II-RU-TE-2014-4-2785.