The use of metaphor power indices for the analysis of speech impact in political public speeches

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The article examines the metaphor power related to the impact of public political speeches on the audience. The purpose of the study is to identify the potentially hidden speech impact of public discourse in order to understand the intentions of the speech messages’ authors. To that end, the aspects of metaphors under analysis include their density in the text, their intensity, functions and positions in the compositional structure of the text. The study tests the method of comprehensive analysis of metaphor power, which is based on the calculation of the corresponding indices MDI (Metaphor density index), MII (Metaphor intensity index), MfTI (Metaphor functional typology index) and MStI (Metaphor structural index). Each index is based on a mathematical formula: MDI reflects the average number of metaphors per a hundred words of the text; MII demonstrates the medium intensity of metaphors (new or conventional metaphors dominating the text); MfTI shows which functions are mainly performed by metaphors in the text; MStI represents the compositional parts of the text where the metaphors are concentrated. The hypothesis about the possibility of using such quantitative methods is tested on the material of three texts of public speeches by the political leaders of Russia, USA and China. The analysis shows that the greatest speech impact is achieved by the speech of the President of China distinguished by the highest metaphor density (4.07), and, the values of MfTI (2.23) MStI (2.51) indicate the intention to restructure the socio-political concepts, as well as to introduce a new content into his country’s domestic and foreign policy. This method for identifying the metaphor power can be used to investigate the potential impact of political speeches and can become an important tool for analyzing various aspects of the metaphor use in discourse.

About the authors

Yuhua Sun

Dalian University of Foreign Languages

Author for correspondence.

Professor, President of the Dalian University of Foreign Languages (until 2015 - Rector), Head of the SCO National Administration in China, Director of the Research Association for the Teaching of Chinese and Russian Languages, Deputy Head of the Russian Group of the National Committee for the Teaching of Foreign Languages. She is also Director of Pushkin National Association of Researchers, Chairman of the Liaoning Association for the Study of Foreign Literature, Deputy Chairman of the Association of Translators and member of the Association of Writers of Prov. Liaoning. She received honorary awards from the State Council of the People's Republic of China. She authrored and coauthored over 100 publications including 4 monographs and 7 dictionaries. Her research is focused on Russian linguistics, Russian language teaching modern Russian literature and international political linguistics.

6 West Section of South Lushun Road, Lushunkou District, Dalian, 116044

Oleg I. Kalinin

Moscow State Linguistic University


Associate Professor of the Chinese Language Department at Moscow State Linguistic University and a postdoctoral researcher at the Military University. He teaches the Chinese language and translation theory, intercultural communication and stylistics. He has authored several textbooks, including a Chinese stylistics textbook. His research interests embrace cognitive linguistics, especially Conceptual Metaphor Theory and the Theory of categorization, discourse analysis, cultural linguistics, intercultural communication and media linguistics.

38 Ostozhenka Street. Moscow, 119034

Alexander V. Ignatenko

Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University)


holds a Ph. D. in Philology and is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Foreign Languages at the Philological Faculty of RUDN. The main areas of his research interests are intercultural communication, translation studies, cultural linguistics, history of Chinese and Russian literature, comparative studies and Chekhov studies.

10/A Miklukho-Maklaya Street, Moscow, 117198


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Copyright (c) 2021 Sun Y., Kalinin O.I., Ignatenko A.V.

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