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A war, a fire, or a race? Metaphors for the COVID-19 pandemic, and why they matter

What’s on offer?

This talk will explore the metaphors for the coronavirus (COVID-19) and invite the audience to contribute to the discussion about the metaphors that they have found most striking, and the most or least appropriate.

What’s it about?

Metaphors have been central to communication about COVID-19, from the virus as an 'enemy' through multiple 'waves' of the pandemic to a 'wall' of immunity provided by vaccines. Why is this? What kinds of metaphors have been used, and for what purposes? And do metaphors really matter? The event will be an opportunity to consider these questions based on research on metaphors in communication, and to discuss the metaphors that participants have found particularly appropriate or inappropriate.


Who’s leading the event?

The session will be led by Professor Elena Semino, from the Department of Linguistics and English Language, Lancaster University. Professor Semino is Director of the ESRC Centre for Corpus Approaches to Social Science. She is the author of 'Metaphor in Discourse' and of several publications on metaphors and COVID-19.

Open to

The event is open to anyone.

Of particular interest to

Everyone is welcome.

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