What is it about?

I have applied the blending theory (Fauconnier and Turner, 1998/2001) to the analysis of proper names in political discourse. I have described metonymic uses of the anthroponym ‘Assad’, the acronyms ‘ISIL’, ‘ISIS’, ‘Daesh’ and the toponymic adjective ‘European’. The following blends have been identified: ‘Assad’ - 'man/regime' and 'man/regime/deadly harm'; ‘ISIS’/‘ISIL’ - 'organisation/territory expansion/terrorism/deadly harm', 'organisation/state/territory' and 'organisation/occupation'; 'ISIL' /‘Daesh’ - 'organisation/on-line/extremism (terrorism)'; 'European’ - 'continent/union/democracy' and 'continent/good'.

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Why is it important?

Two important findings are that: 1) the construction of a metonymic blend in proper names often requires activation of world knowledge which forms part of the conceptual structure of the source or target domains of a proper name, and 2) in the language of politics proper names used as blends can carry an ideological or an axiological message, i.e. their referents can be contextually identified with a certain system of ideas, principles or values.


The potential rewards of applying the BT model to analysis of conceptual metonymy appear to be significant, since blending theory tools are definitely more useful in exposing and understanding non-conventional, complex, abstract metonymic meanings.

Tatiana Golubeva

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This page is a summary of: The proper names ‘Assad’, ‘ISIL’, ‘ISIS’, ‘Daesh’ and ‘European’ as metonymic blends in political discourse, Review of Cognitive Linguistics, January 2023, John Benjamins,
DOI: 10.1075/rcl.00129.gol.
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