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1 natural forces
115 abstract entities
18 unarmed groups of
2 natural forces
2 about armed criminal
groups Words from the lexical field of war and their metaphoric potential 227 The analysis of the examples from the BNC shows that the most frequent
sense is the military one. Therefore, both the verb and the noun surrender
can be considered as indicative of the X IS WAR metaphor.
6. Summary of the results and conclusion
An analysis of various literal and metaphorical senses of the words identified as common in the war reports and thus considered as constituting the
lexical field of war has shown that the military sense has not always been
the most frequent literal sense of the word. For example, in the case of the
verb attack and the noun fight the ‘physical violence’ sense dominated.
On the other hand, a related noun fighting has been mostly used in its
military sense. It is therefore relatively safe to claim that while the noun
fight seems to be more indicative of the X IS A HAND-TO-HAND COMBAT
metaphor, the noun fighting is more likely to be a manifestation of the X IS
As for the verb defend, what seemed to be a metaphorical sense of
‘speaking’ turned out to be most common. The question arises at this point
whether, in accord with the embodiment claim, ‘speaking’ is not more basic, concrete, bodily based than ‘defending’ in the military sense? Can this
basicness be overruled on the basis of etymology? And how far in word
history would we need to go?11 Whatever the answer to this question may
be, sheer frequency may suggest that even if in some cases the use of the
verb defend, in its ‘speaking’ sense, may activate the conceptual metaphor
ARGUMENT IS WAR, in many cases the metaphor will remain dormant.
When it comes to synonyms and morphologically related words,
they seem to select different meaning foci as if to utilize their formal differentiation. That was the case with the verbs bomb and bombard, where
bomb was predominantly used in its military sense, while bombard in the
metaphorical sense. This tendency is also reflected, though to a lesser extent, in the use of their nominal derivatives. Bombing in the analysed sample was used only in the military sense, while bombardment had a small
number of metaphorical uses. The case of the nouns fight and fighting has
been presented above.
11 According to the OED it is a borrowing from Old French into Middle English with
the first sense ‘ward off, protect’. The ‘speaking’ sense is listed as number 5, but it also
appeared already in Middle English. 228 Chapter V The noun conflict has predominantly general sense uses. The military sense can be considered as a narrowing of the general sense. There
seems to be no ground for interpreting it as a metaphorical extension of the
military sense. It is therefore not a manifestation of the X IS WAR metaphor.
From among the investigated words, four groups can be distinguished. The first one consists of the words with a strong (understood as
most frequent) military sense or the military sense as the only literal sense
and with a strong metaphorical potential. They are bombard (V), fighting
(N), invade (V), invasion (N),...
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