War Metaphors in Bulgarian Official Discourse during the COVID-19 Crisis

COVID-19 through the Prism of Communication Research

Bilyana Todorova

South-West University “Neofit Rilski” Blagoevgrad

E-mail: bilyanatodorova@swu.bg

Abstract: The aim of the study is to present the use of war metaphors in Bulgarian official discourse in the period of the so-called ‘state of emergency’ because of the SARSCoV2 (coronavirus) spread. War-connected metaphors were widespread at the time as even the Secretary-General of the UN used them in his speech. The rhetoric of war was announced by many world political leaders as well. However, the militarisation of the COVID-19 discourse in Bulgaria between March and May is not part of an isolated act, but a purposeful strategy which started with the choice of the members of the National Operational Headquarters and continued with the use of military uniforms during the media briefings, the lexical choice of hyperbolic words and phrases, war metaphors and other rhetoric devices as rhetorical questions, for example. The second stage of the ‘war’ was announced in mid-May when the new strategy of preparation for the silent long-lasting war was presented. The measures have been weakened and people have been prepared for a life with the virus around the so-called New Normality. The methodology includes Critical Discourse Analysis and Critical Cognitive Analysis. The focus is on the critical examination of certain phenomena in a specific context and in the COVID-19 situation in Bulgaria. The analysis is based on selected publications in the media, which use the metaphor of war.

Keywords: war metaphors, Critical Cognitive Analysis, Critical Discourse Analysis, COVID-19, Bulgaria, New Normality.

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