[Journal of Language and Politics 3:3] 2004
► pp. 409–440
Bush’s and Gore’s language and gestures in the 2000 US presidential debates
A test case for two models of metaphors
Lakoff (1996) analyzes American political positions in terms of two different sets of conceptual metaphors: the right wing ‘Strict Father’ (SF) model and the left wing ‘Nurturant Parent’ (NP) model. The current study is an empirical test of the degree to which these models were manifested in the televised debates between George W. Bush and Al Gore before the 2000 US presidential elections. While the results show little metaphorical language which would directly support the proposed models, many expressions were found which follow from the models as logical entailments. An analysis of both speakers’ metaphoric gestures shows Bush expressing the SF model largely regardless of his use of SF or NP language, and Gore using gesture more for discourse structuring purposes. This study suggests that differences in the nature of the metaphors themselves in the two models help make the SF model easier to present as a coherent framework than the NP model.
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