Research Article

A Critical Cognitive Analysis of Metaphors in Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s Political Speeches


  • Sandra Addo Wiredu Nanjing Tech University, China


This thesis analyzes the use of various types of metaphors in a self-built corpus of political speeches delivered by the first president of the Republic of Ghana, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, on his fight for Independence for Ghana and the whole of Africa. It aims to uncover how Dr. Nkrumah used rhetoric as a weapon to achieve his political aims and ideologies. In order to identify the metaphorical expressions, I used the Metaphor Identification Procedure developed by scholars at the VU University Amsterdam (abbreviated as MIPVU), which is a systematic and transparent procedure for identifying linguistic metaphors. By adopting MIPVU, lexical units of the sentences were examined, and then the contextual meaning of the unit was established to determine the more basic meaning. If the contextual meaning is contrasted with the basic meaning but can be understood in comparison with it, then the unit will be marked as a metaphor. A total sum of forty-three metaphorical expressions was identified in my self-built corpus. After the metaphors were identified, I followed the procedures of Critical Metaphor Analysis (CMA) to analyze the use of metaphors to reveal the underlying ideologies and rhetorical functions. It is found that Nkrumah frequently used the journey, war and religious metaphors to convey the intended message and achieve his political objectives. These metaphors can serve a series of functions, such as attracting attention to establish trust, providing an explanation through framing, expressing empathy, emotion or motivation, fulfilling aesthetic purpose as well as creating a political myth. More generally, metaphors as a powerful tool help make Nkrumah’s political speeches more convincing.

Article information


International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation

Volume (Issue)

6 (5)





How to Cite

Wiredu, S. A. (2023). A Critical Cognitive Analysis of Metaphors in Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s Political Speeches. International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation, 6(5), 114–131.



Political speech; journey metaphors; war metaphors; religious metaphors; ideology; rhetorical function; Critical Metaphor Analysis; Nkrumah