Journal of Intercultural Communication, issue 5, 2002

Christopher M. Schmidt

Metaphor and cognition: a cross-cultural study of indigenous and universal constructs in stock exchange reports


The article examines the aspects of similarity and diversity between different cultures through a cognitive metaphorological approach. The aim is to show in which way both aspects are intertwined and in which way they are relevant for both a theoretical foundation of intercultural communication in general and for solving problems of understanding that can arise in special fields of intercultural communication. The article attempts to demonstrate in which way language can be used to analyze culturally relevant cognitive schemas in the field of business communication. It also demonstrates that the concept of indigenous constructs is needed to promote development in the theory of intercultural communication. The author uses the theory of cognitive metaphors which was introduced by Lakoff/Johnson in 1980 and developed further in the 90s and applies it to a cross-cultural corpus of daily business reports on the stock exchange in Finnish, Finland-Swedish and German newspaper articles. Because of the ongoing world-wide process of synchronic movements of trends in national stock markets since the 90s, the reports in different languages on their national stock market movements have a very high degree of referential comparability. A high degree of comparability in the corpus can be considered methodologically crucial for a cross-cultural study which also aims to solve basic theoretical questions.

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