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Metaphorical expressions in Indian English: A cross-cultural usage-based study

Naidu, Shashikala
Scope and Method of Study: This exploratory study on the use of metaphors in an indigenized variety of English--Indian English--sought to discover the degree to which the language varied or stayed close to the norm-giving parent language, British English, in terms of the use of metaphorical expressions (MEs). One of the main tenets of Conceptual Theory of Metaphor (CMT)--that metaphor is a cognitive mechanism and not a literary device--served as the main theoretical framework of the study. Adopting the discourse approach, and drawing on discourse studies (Cameron, 1999, 2003; Deignan, 2005; Moder, 2004, 2008), MEs were identified and analyzed in terms of their density, frequency, and distribution, in naturally occurring discourse. Case studies were conducted to analyze the domains of the MEs identified in the corpora. The corpora used for the study were news stories from leading newspapers, the Times of India (TOI) and Times on Line/London Times (LT).
Findings and Conclusions: The findings indicated that the Indian news stories used twice as many MEs as compared to LT. The frequency ratios showed that the TOI news stories used not only more types, but these types also appeared twice as frequently (more tokens). In addition, the frequency ratios of the lexical forms of MEs indicated that both varieties used twice as many verbal MEs as nominal MEs. Comparatively, the frequency ratios of verbal and nominal MEs were much higher in TOI than in LT, as the TOI used both verbal and nominal MEs twice as frequently as the LT. The domain analysis indicated that although the source domains overlapped in the two varieties, Indian English exhibited unique characteristics, especially, in the distinctive extension of the mapping of the source domain "fire," and in its culturally specific way of using expressions such as creamy layer. Additionally, Indian domestic news stories code-switched a number of expressions which were metaphorical from English to Hindi, highlighting culturally distinct aspects in the indigenized variety of English.