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Study on Public Perception on the Use of Metaphors in Medical Discourse

  • The Sociolinguistic Journal of Korea
  • Abbr : 사회언어학
  • 2024, 32(1), pp.75-105
  • Publisher : The Sociolinguistic Society Of Korea
  • Research Area : Humanities > Linguistics
  • Received : February 15, 2024
  • Accepted : March 7, 2024
  • Published : March 31, 2024

Song Hyun Ju 1 Kim Yeni 1 Miju Hong 1

1경북대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This study aims to examine the public's perception of the appropriateness of metaphorical expressions used by medical professionals in medical discourse. A sample of 142 individuals were asked to evaluate the appropriateness of ten metaphorical expressions used by health-care experts. Additionally, questions were posed about the effects of using metaphors. The ten items showed variability in the degree of appropriateness, with metaphors being considered more appropriate when the target was familiar and the similarity between the source and target domains was high. Positive aspects of metaphor use by medical professionals included aiding in understanding, with respondents perceiving such professionals as kind, considerate of patients, and trustworthy. Negative aspects included difficulties in understanding when the similarity between the metaphorical targets was low, requiring lengthy and complex thought processes, and potential misunderstandings of scientific facts. Approximately 15% of respondents reported their own experiences with metaphorical expressions in medical discourse, noting that these metaphors helped them understand the illness and treatment, and induced positive behavioral changes.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.