Conceptual metaphor and image schema representations of cancer-related deaths of selected prominent Kenyan personalities in the print media


  • Cellyne Anudo Department of Languages, Literature and Communication University of Kabianga, Kenya
  • Benard Kodak Department of Languages, Linguistics and Literature Maasai Mara University, Kenya


conceptualization, conceptual metaphors, entity, image schemas


Conceptual metaphors pervade everyday conversations but are used unconsciously. A sample of metaphorical expressions used to express the abstract entity death was collected from two local dailies that is, The Daily Nation and The Standard in Kenya.  The deaths that formed the point of focus for this study are those of three prominent Kenyan personalities: Bob Collymore, the then Chief Executive Officer of Safaricom, Ken Okoth, the then Kibra MP and Joyce Laboso, the then governor of Bomet County all of whom died in month of July 2019. Conceptual metaphors of death were derived from the metaphorical expressions and analysed using Lakoff and Johnson’s (1980) theory of Conceptual Metaphors and Johnson’s (1987) theory of Image Schemas. Steen’s (1999) five-step procedure that assists in the identification of conceptual metaphor was employed. The metaphorical expressions of death were extracted and classified with regard to their connectedness. The data for the study was thereafter analysed qualitatively. A descriptive research design was adopted for the study. Findings indicate that the cognitive linguistics model used dispenses devices for comprehending, interpreting and accounting for abstract concepts in terms of concreteness. Conceptual metaphors are a cognitive means for the society to conceptualize death as an abstract entity.


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How to Cite

Anudo, C., & Kodak, B. (2020). Conceptual metaphor and image schema representations of cancer-related deaths of selected prominent Kenyan personalities in the print media. Nairobi Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 4(3), 7-21.