The aim of this is to investigate the use of metaphors in the area of journalism. The corpus was collected from economic issues in three selected business media periodicals (i.e. The Economist, The Financial Times and The Independent) from September 30 to November 2, 2004. The corpus of newspaper texts comprises a total of 388 articles, in all 235, 414 words. Some of the key questions are:(i) which conceptual metaphors are the most frequent in business discourse?; (ii) to what extent does financial use metaphorical language to report on economic events?; (iii) does business news contain conventional or unconventional metaphors?; and (iv) are metaphors used at random by the journalist or do they form certain cohesive patterns in the text?. The study of metaphors in financial discourse is divided into two sections: The first section is a corpus-based quantitative analysis which reveals the most frequent conceptual metaphors and their linguistic expressions used in news reports. The second section is a qualitative text analysis which shows the distribution of metaphors and their communicative/textual function in a financial text.
The first part of the analysis shows 1, 368 instances of figurative language which belong to the categories of conceptual metaphors, idioms, similes, metonymies and image metaphors. There have been found14 conceptual metaphors in the material which correspond to the domains of LIVING ORGANISM, HEALTH, WAR, SPORT, MOVEMENT, LIQUID, GAS, GAME, CRIME, PATH, ROMANCE, WEATHER, MACHINE and FAMILY. The total number of metaphorical instances identified in these Source domains is 1,257. The results show that these Source domains provide a conceptual structure which is necessary for the understanding of the complex abstract content of the subject of economics. In this respect, WAR metaphors represent the aggressiveness of the business domain, GAME metaphors reflect the playfulness and risks involved, SPORT metaphors concentrate on competition, FAMILY metaphor mirror relationships and ROMANCE metaphor reflect the passionate side of it. Moreover, CRIME metaphors involve the morality of the business, PATH and MOVEMENT metaphors are directed at the goal of making business, ORGANISM metaphors map the different stages of development of financial transactions, HEALTH metaphors reveal the resilience of a company, WEATHER metaphors forecast the future of a business situation, GAS metaphors bring out the volatility of the stock market, LIQUID metaphors evoke the fluctuation of stocks in the market and, finally, MACHINE metaphors represent the structure of economic models. With regard to the analysis of the financial text, the selected article consists of 1,999 tokens with the type/ratio of 40.62. This study reveals that individual metaphorical expressions are interconnected throughout the text. It is demonstrated that individual metaphorical themes can elaborate on each other, and interact. Some metaphors have a vivid semantic life of their own, partly stemming from, and partly extending the overall semantic content of the text came into life. Since metaphors are not only interrelated and elaborated on, but also relexicalized throughout the article, they become powerful cohesive devices for text structure. Moreover, they do not only contribute to the cohesion and richness of the text, but they also provide conceptual semantic tightness and consistency to the argumentation.