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Breasts are not just battlefields: Breast cancer and metaphors

Abstract
We analyse how breast cancer patients use metaphor with respect to their illness. The medical humanities (Whitehead and Woods, 2016) already has a rich tradition of coming to appreciate how cancer is discussed by clinicians, patients, survivors, and others. Our research hopes to extend this ongoing discussion by looking within and across two languages: English and Urdu. This research is part of a larger project (a PhD thesis) and in this presentation, we introduce preliminary corpus data and some initial findings from it. We take a corpus linguistics approach to examine how frequent metaphors are used, and we subject them to analysis through the lens of conceptual metaphor theory (Lakoff and Johnson, 1980; Lakoff, 2006). Our corpus is collected from two different languages: Urdu (as spoken in Pakistan) and English (as spoken in New Zealand). It consists of social media language: four YouTube videos (two from each country), transcribed and translated (for Urdu). Our initial findings suggest that, as argued in previous research (Guité-Verret and Vachon, 2021), breast cancer is often framed with reference to war metaphors. However, we also reveal a number of previously undocumented metaphors, for example part-whole relationships, such as ‘if spread from breast then it has the whole body’, which refer to generic level metaphor-miscellaneous metaphors (GenM-MM) Lakoff (2006).
Type
Conference Contribution
Type of thesis
Series
Citation
Date
2023-11-29
Publisher
University of Waikato
Degree
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Rights
© 2023 The Authors.