Coronavirus pandemic reality in mass media discourse: a comparative analysis of English-Russian onomastic metaphors
The paper is devoted to the study of onomastic metaphors used in Russian and English mass media discourse to reflect the coronavirus pandemic situation. The status of onomastic metaphors in the language according to cognitive-discursive approach is determined as a mental operation when an integral conceptual structure surrounded by context and activated in minds of native speakers is subject to metaphorical transformation. Research interest in onomastic metaphors is explained by the fact that proper names enter the personal space of each individual, act as cultural, historical and linguistic markers and participate in the process of conceptualization and reconceptualization of reality. The object of the study was 215 Russian and English mass media texts, the analysis of which showed that anthroponymic, toponymic and mythonymic types of onomastic metaphors are most frequently used in mass media discourse to conceptualize the period of the coronavirus pandemic. The analysis of different types of onyms used to represent the pandemic events allowed to reveal the quantitative ratio of onomastic metaphors in Russian and English media texts, where anthroponymic metaphors occupy 43%, toponymic metaphors 31% and mythonymic metaphors 26% of the total volume of metaphors found in the analyzed discourse. It has been established that the most common source areas in both Russian and English media discourse are famous names of real time, historical figures, literature characters, real and unreal places, mythological and religious personages. These names are the most significant for a person regardless of national and cultural affiliation, however, some national priorities in the choice of proper names used to describe the pandemic period can also be observed. It has also been found that fictional source spheres are more common both in Russian and English media discourse, which is a consequence of the creative nature of human thought. The powerful pragmatic potential of onomastic metaphors influencing the recipient’s value attitudes and contributing to stereotyping and assessment of the current situation in the public mind is emphasized.