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Written and partly presented at IWM-Junior Fellow Conference,

Vienna,  Nov. 1995


Published in:

Academic Work in Progress,




ed. by

Jack Weinstein, Vienna: IWM, 1996., pp. 59-73


Metaphors Openly Literal

Providing Political Power by Re-Literalizing Metaphors in Public Speech.

- With A Case Study: Haider and ‘ausmisten’ -



Part I

Preliminaries: Metaphors in the Philosophy of Language

It is a trivial truth to say that metaphors make out a great part of our language, not only of the literary one but also of the every day language and also of the rational discourse in science, philosophy and in different theories. But it is no trivial truth when it is said that metaphors reveal the essential model the language is built upon, i.e. that language itself is metaphorical or, to put it more precisely, that the whole designation system of language - the way it refers to the world of objects and the way it encompasses the abstract world of meanings - is based upon or constructed analogically to the trope we know under the label of metaphor. This means that metaphors, being one trope of speech among others, have become a paradigm or a model of language itself. As a consequence, metaphoric expressions are now being considered not a exeptions within the normal language but rather as its very crucial rule, and they are not believed to belong exclusively and properly to the poetic discourse.

The consequences for a theory of human languages and also for semantic theories are accordingly immense. One of the most striking consequences is that the so-called literal meaning of terms and expressions turns out to be nothing but a petrified case of metaphorical expressions, and that there is no literal expression within a language which could not be used metaphorically, i.e. deprived of its literal meaning. It is this feature of language expressions which suggests that metaphorical procedures within the language are more general and more essential to the language than the so-called literality. Or, to put it in more radical words, nothing in the world has been called by its proper name but only and neccesarily by an inproper word. Words do not refer and designate things, they indicate semantic contents which we establish in opposition to others and which we struggle for.

This view of language, which is spread throughout different theories and shared with more or less concordance by different philosophers and theorists of language, seems obviously exaggerated. Intuitively we can agree with it as far as it states that there are still literal meanings within a language - i.e. that not everything in our language is just metaphors or other tropes we call generally metaphorical figures - although it may be true that literal meanings historically (genetically) have come into being by metaphorical processes. As a matter of fact, it has been shown in the analytical philosophy of language (cf. Donald Davidson) that, although we seem to must deny that language refers or designates (but rather indicates), we need not say that language is throughout a metaphorical construct which partly and successively through human history becomes a "firm" and "petrified" system of designating things and facts by words. Consequently, although we say that words do not designate or refer but indicate realities in the world, we say that they have literal meaning and are "veridical". The verification is not a process of referring to facts without the language, i. e. to an objective and separate world, but to other conceptual systems. Our definitions are descriptions of the unknown by the known and as such, they are encyclopedic rather than dictionary related systems of referring to things in the world. Our objective knowledge, which is expressed in our language, is an accumulation of our experience which largerly fits with our world. In this view of language, we intuitively start with literal meanings and we are not forced to assume that there are other than literal meanings. More over, it seems only coherent to start saying that there is no metaphorical meaning of words; what there is instead, is metaphorical use of words which - depending on capacities of the language user - can bring about to produce and introduce "fresh" and "innovative" expressions or thoughts in different fields such as every day language, poetry and literature, and last but not least in science.

As a matter of fact, it is theorists and historians of science who brought about to the decisive breakthrough of metaphors in contemporary philosophies of language. It was their concern to overcome, by adopting the results of antipositivistic theories of meaning in philosophy, the very narrow framework of positivistic theories of knowledge and a proper rational language. Nonetheless, inspite of the veritable revolution in theories of language, the question of the genetic priority of metaphors to literal expressions in language and of their very indispensable role in generating and improving the human knowledge has remained unsolved. As a matter of fact, recent genetic currents in language theory seem to abandon definitely the culture history pattern of different hermeneutical theories and philosophies of language to which the overestimation of metaphor as principle of language is due (cf. Peper). The genetic explanation of language accounts for a radical idea that there is a universal human language, called mentalese, which is genetically "encoded" and which gets transformed into variety of languageas by means of translation processes.

As a consequence, theories of metaphor based on hermeneutical views of language or knowledge, in order to establish an absolute, genetic and structural, priority of metaphors in language, one cannot appeal to language itself but to outer-linguistic users. In other words, if one wants to explain metaphors, one has to build upon assumption that there is a real difference between literal meaning of expressions and metaphorical use of language. And this is exactly what new theories about the role of metaphors in language and knowledge do not offer, because it entails that a linguistic behaviour, such as using words metaphorically, is not to be explained by means of an explanation of language and furthermore that the phenomenon itself - using words metaphorically - is not necessarily a specific linguistic phenomenon. But if it is true about theories of language that we have to accept the differenciation between literal meaning of expressions on one side and metaphorical use of them on the other side, this differenciation entails a typological and ontological difference between linguistic units (abstract objects) and linguistic behaviour, the latter implying that there is a real ("outer-linguistic") subject which is not just an instrument of language but rather a manipulated manipulator of the language. He is to be seen as manipulated insofar as he is inevitably a part of a concrete historical society which is at once a linguistic community; but he is also to be seen as a manipulator insofar as he is a competent user of language and can, under certain circumstances, move through linguistic levels within the community he belongs to, combine or, even, replace them with one another.

On this background the ability and practice of using words metaphorically appeares not only as a phenomenon of linguistic attitude but rather as a means of political behaviour. However, it is necessary to remember that this idea of political behaviour is not derived from the general idea that humans are in their essence "political beings" given that they are "lingual (rational) beings" (cf. Aristotle zoon logon echon vs zoon politicon), although this is the general presupposition on which it is based. So the idea is not that men are political beings by sharing the common nature of mankind and its special means of language - this is a trivial truth of anthropology and a necessary presupposition of all theories of politics - but rather by causing differences or, to put it more emphatically: by causing gaps within the community. One of the necessary means to be political in the strong sense of the word seems to be the aptitude for using language metaphorically, i. e. to be able to intervene in a commonly shared corpus of literal meanings of words and usual expressions within a language.

However, the traditional explanation for using metaphors in political discourse has been provided by theory of rhetoric. Metaphors are a contingent but useful means of the art of persuasion, but in difference to the poetic discourse, the use of metaphor in public affaires is considered as being guided by the idea of "moral truth". Hence, similarly to the scientific discourse, a certain criterion of truth appears to be the limit or measure of using metaphors which by itself tends to delimitate and pervert every "serious discourse". This makes the background of the traditional opinion that metaphors in non-scientific discourse like in politics are allowed but not necessaryly a good means. The more scientific discourse becomes the less metaphors are allowed or wellcome. Recent theories on metaphors have stated however that metaphors not only make an underlying and hardly dispensable means of language, knowledge and rational discourse, but also constitutive and necessary factor. So, even if we do not share the common idea of hermeneutical philosophies of language that everything in language and knowledge is by itself metaphoric or is based upon metaphor and instead we deal with the idea that metaphors in language are due to a specific (i.e. not strictly code-dependent) way of using language, we still have to encounter the question why and in which sense metaphor should be considered as constitutive of a linguistic behaviour which makes part of a political discourse.

In order to respond to this question, the thesis we deal with has to be sharpened in the following way: Metaphors are not just contingent means of a political language which can be omitted. For in order to be political one cannot and must not omit metaphors, because only by metaphors he is able to appeal to what he (believes that he) is supposed to appeal: namely to the "real" object of political discourse which cannot be said. In other words, metaphors are necessary means of (every) language because they are symptoms of the "real", i. e. of that element which is being omitted in and by the language as such.

The Rehabilitation of Metaphor

It has been widely believed in the contemporary philosophy that metaphors - standing for both for the whole class of rhetorical figures or tropes called "metaphors" (synegdoche, metonymy, metaphor etc.) and for one special case of metaphoric speech - are not only a natural but indispensable part of our every day language and also of our learning process about the world. Metaphors are considered as a necessary means of our cognition and, consequently, a large part of contemporary language and knowledge theories are concerned with exploring metaphors. More over, theories about metaphor consider themselves as comprehensive criticism of positivistic and reductionist conception of rationalism in science, knowledge and language. Metaphors are conceived of as furnishing the necessary connection between the static and dynamic aspects of meaning in the language and ideas within the field of knowledge, a connection which was missed in earlier theories of semantics and epistemology of the century.

As a consequence, the general trend to rehabilitate metaphors in the scientific discourse - and this is provided by a scientific discourse about sciences and knowledge — has brought about establishing multiple ways of approaching both to explaining the linguistic or semiotic structure of metaphor and to explaining things by metaphors (or: "how metaphors work"). Thus we are nowadays confronted with a florishing epistemology of metaphor which is concerned with exploring metaphoric structures both of means and of objects in different fields of human activity. This is also true of the investigation field of social and political sciences. The reason for the expansion of such a special theory as theory of metaphor to other fields than discourse on (or of) literature, rhetoric or growth of human knowledge is not only due to a simple application of analogy and model theories from one scientific field to another, although this is not to be excluded from reflections about metaphors and metaphor theories (cf. Wittgensteinian background theories in epistemology). The inflation of metaphor theories is rather due to their own achievements in the last three decades, achievements and results which coincide inspite of stemming from different of even opposing theoretical traditions.

The main common result of metaphor-oriented linguistics, philosophies of language and theories of knowledge is that the whole system of comprehension in human culture is based upon metaphoric structures - widely speaking, that the comprehension system functions as a system of replacing one item with another. This opinion has led to ultimate assumptions about language both non-discursive such as "all is metaphor" (cf. Derrida) and more discursive such as "all our basic expressions or even the whole eystem of symbolic representations (be it verbal or visual) are meant to be literal, but the basic patterns of representing thoughts/ideas turn out to be metaphoric"; this is due to the fact that our conceptual apparatus is based on our relationship to the physical world (cf. Lakoff-Johnson). Thus, our system of comprehension, albeit intended to be literal, appears in its very intimate structure as metaphoric, illiteral, indirect. As a consequence, even when we intend to speak literally, we speak by means of metaphors. (E.g. "She/He is a highly moral person" is meant as a literal sentence, a judgement on a person. But the expression "highly moral person" is due to more deeply posited assumptions about morality in terms of physicality such as : moral=morally good, highly moral << good=high, bad=low, good:bad=high:low, etc.) But when we use metaphors consciously, i. e. as proper metaphors, we only relate to rules which are built in our conceptual system underlying and expressed by our language. As a consequence, metaphors are not considered as mere phenomenon of the language and are not to be explained by linguistics, rhetoric, semiotic or stile research. As being embedded in the deep level of the conceptual system, metaphors develop by speech acts in different directions, to different semiotic systems, and language is only one among them (albeit the main one).

Roughly speaking, there are three main theories of metaphor due to three different levels of situating metaphoric transfer:

1) Semiotic theories which explain the metaphoric transfer on the basis of the sign structure which is marked by the difference between signifier and signified and which causes the sliding either of signifier to another signifier.

2) Conceptualist theory of metaphor arguing about metaphors independently of the semiotic level (signs, be they signifiers or signifieds). Metaphors are not produced by signs. It is rather the metaphoric structure of the conceptual system of humans which produces metaphors as wholes, as integral signs.

3) Lingustic theories of metaphor stemming generally from the linguistic theory of "semantic fields of language", "word fields". It says that every unit of our language is defined by and used through appeal to a set of differential relations to other units (a basically Saussurian model of linguistics).

Triviality of Metaphor

The rehabilitation of metaphor in the discourse about language and knowledge entails a great deal of overevaluation in the sense that a very special semiotic issue becomes a general feature of language. If everything is based on metaphors, then metaphor is trivial. Another consequence, which is visible from the deconstructivist current of semiotics, is that metaphoric discourse has become an illimited literalisation of metaphors. Words are being interpreted as if every was a metaphor, and every word-metaphor a picture. As a result, the most important task of scientific theories of metaphor has become not only to thematize and apply metaphors, but also to limit their field, to reestablish the difference between metaphoric and literal discourse, to trace the difference between meaning and use etc., which, in turn, has been called "death of metaphor" (cf. Rorty). This means more precisely, the task of metaphor theories has been to shape and define the non-trivial aspect of metaphoric language, to identify the impact of metaphor to our knowledge, and, as a consequence, to test the necessity of using metaphors. This is the most difficult aspect of the metaphor issue in the current theories because it seems not resolvable without a metatheory of metaphors which again presupposes that metaphores be universalisalized or generalized, at least. Thus, in order to analyse metaphors as non trivial features of expressions, it has to be shown that they are necessary or even irreplaceable means of expression.

Part II

Metaphors in the Political Discourse

‘Der Unaufhaltsame Aufstieg’ of Jörg Haider

(The Austrian Election Campaign 1995)

If it is true that metaphors are indispensable means of our comprehension system, i. e. of our conceptual apparatus and communication means, then it must be true not only of literary and scientific discourse but also of all those fields in which the every day language is included. It must be true of the discourse in politics, not only of the discours about politics. In order to pursuit this assumption and to prove whether metaphors hav that importance, I am going to analyse some cases of metaphoric speech as samples of political discourse. In order to do so it is necessary to call to the plan not only linguistic, epistemologic and semiotic theories of metaphor but also some further explantations of language procedures or communicative behaviour such as the speech act theory in which the metaphors are systematized as samples of indirect speech act.

Therefore, the starting question is whether there is any real power in metaphors and hence any politics by metaphors? In order to encounter this problem I would like to consider some samples of metaphoric speech which in the current Austrian election campaign have a certain discousive value, i. e. which have been widely cited, commented, and related to in the public discourse.

If one pays attention to the current election propaganda of Austrian political parties, one may observe that the use of "strong" rhetorical means of language increases when one moves from the (in)stabile centre which is built up by the governing coalition (Social Democratic Party and Peoples Party) towards non-governing parties which demand for a radical political change in the country. The skala of rhetoricity changes indeed profoundly from nearly zero-rhetoricity (SPÖ) to a very high grade (FP). It may also be observed that messages are mainly or exclusively verbal; there has been only one example of other forms such as by Liberales Forum where the message-designer combines verbal elements with graphical ones. From that it is to conclude that all parties appeal to a very classical picture of citizen who is supposed to receive messages only on the direct way of "being told" or given an information by other.

But it is to observe that it is the most conservative of all parties represented on the Austrian political scene to use (relatively) the most sophisticated jargon and rhetoricity in sending political messages. The complexity of this rhetoric is not due to an ultramodern or very sophisticated design but to the use of different forms of indirect speech. One of them calls for particular attention, the metaphoric use of the german verb "ausmisten" by the president of the Austrian conservative party FPÖ, Jörg Haider, when he on the first election meeting in Klagenfurt said:

"Wenn Haider kommt, dann wird ausgemistet, dann wird Ordnung gemacht in diesem Lande!"

The metaphoric expression "(es) wird ausgemistet" (further on referred to as mS1 (metaphoric sentence 1) has become very fruitful; it has been often cited, answered and extended ("In Österreich wird nur noch mit zugehaltener Nase gewählt", "Das ist ein Sumpf", "Wir misten selbst aus!"). But the question may be raised: Is this just a fany language game or is there a specific political significance to be ascribed to this expressions so that the initial metaphor mS1 cannot easily be replaced by any literal equivalent without a loss of significance or sense. According to the general thesis about metaphors, a certain specific significance must have been provided (transported) by the metaphor, and this is indicated by the fact that it has become so fertile in a relatively short period of two weeks. But in order to identify and establish this specific meaning, one has first to ensure that the metaphor mS1 is a necessary and/or irreplaceable one and, second, to discuss in which way it is constitutive for the meaning of the expression developed.

Given that mS1 has caused much excitation in the Austrian public sphere, that it is submitted to different forms of use (citation, reformulation, answering) although, at first sight, there is nothing very special or scandalous about it (neither is it a sample of vulgar speech nor is the speaker of the sentence considered as a timide person; rather one is used to hear such expressions from him), it is obvious that the mS1 has been widely understood and that it can easily be replaced by other more or less literal equivalents. This all is enough to consider it as a trivial metaphor. Nontheless, the reception of this expression suggests the opposite. Given that mS1 is being widely received and answered, one may assume that it incorporates a certain special political meaning which could not easily be replaced by another expression. In terms of the speech act theory, it has been provided by very high degree of uncertain illocutionary force which can be analysed only in regard of the expression which has been used (Searle: 1979).

In terms of linguistic analysis one may explain mS1 in the following way. The expression "ausmisten" means as a literal expression "move the dong away (from stall)" and it is an item of farmer's every day vocabulary. But as useed in the every day language of the public sphere, which is not predominantly or not at all a world of farmers or peasants, where the stall is not the normal item of the world to associate, the expression becomes more drastic. Nevertheless, it seems motivated by other possibilities provided by the average language stile. The german noun "Mist" is in Austria not only a part of peasant vocabulary, it is also used for the "rubbish"; thus, it is the carrier for another metaphoric expression "Mist bauen" (or, the opposite: "Mist abbauen") to indicate wrong actions and wrong things done (respectively, to remove or "repear" them). Accordingly, it is possible to approach the expression "Mist abbauen" with the expression mS1. But "ausmisten" and "Mist abbauen" is not the same, every competent speaker of German (Austrian) feels that "ausmisten" indicates much more, although the speaker of mS1 very often uses the expression "Mist bauen". But it is certain that he, at the situation indicated, did not use the expression "Mist abbauen" instead of "ausmisten", and it is not certain whether he has ever used or would ever use it to replace mS1.

*About the irreplaceability: The additional difficulty is the following. It is not likely that a german speaker would utilize the expression mS1 in order to say "etwas in Ordnung bringen" ("put things again in order"); the verb "ausmisten" seems to be too drastic and inappropriate for a non-drastic use; rather he would say "Mist abbauen", which implies as positive expression "Mist bauen" (not ausmisten), or more convenient "aufräumen". On the other side, it is not possible to approach the expression "Mist bauen/abbauen" as comparable or compatible to the expression "ausmisten" in the normal environment; one cannot say in German "Kühe bauen Mist (ab)": if one said this, he would be considered as a very funy person or an incompetent speaker.

Therefore, the linguistic (or better lexical) explanation indicates that the expression "ausmisten" has a very restricted semantic field, i. e. that it cannot, even in its literal meaning, be replaced by many other expressions. As a matter of fact, it seems replaceable only by a description (paraphrase) of what realy is being done when in German "ausgemistet wird": namely, "es wird Mist ausgetragen (aus dem Stall)" oder "der Stall wird gereinigt vom Mist". But this shows also that the mS1 expression is not comparable, and even less reducible, to any other normal expression indicating the action of bringing things in order or reestablishing order buy putting wrong things away or to its proper place. Instead, one is forced to keep in mind that the expression stays for a very specific action which can hardly be said of other singular actions of the type (cleaning the house, arranging a room etc.) because it has a very special derrogative value. "Ausmisten" means "cleaning the stall", moving dong away, and not reestablishing an order in the stall. For, dong belongs to the natural order of the stall, it is an indispensable element of it and, insofar as it is natural, it is symbolically irreplaceable. More precise, ausmisten is a strongly stall-bounded action and context-bounded way of speaking. Thus the lexical status of the expression mS1 indicates that we are not confronted with an intentionally built metaphor, but rather with a literally used expression. Its metaphorical character is provided only by the fact that it was uttered in an other context (political meeting) than the natural one (a stall). As a consequence, the condition for an expression, which is obviously physically transferred from one context into another and hence is still "metaphorical", to function as a literal expression is that it gets embedded in another metaphorical framework, which in the linguistic practice can be invisible. This means that in order to analyse the metaphoric expression mS1, we have to take it for a re-literalized expression within a larger metaphorical framework. The lexical instruction on the expression "ausmisten" indicates the proper direction because it requires that there be necessarily a stall. For "ausmisten" in German has exclusively the meaning of "removing dong from the stall", and not from house or any other room or space. (In these contexts, what is being done, is "Mist austragen" and not "ausmisten", albeit the noun "Mist" in Austrian German, in difference to German German, is semantically ambiguous). Therefore, you cannot say in Austrian German "ausmisten" with regard to a house without implying that the hause is a stall. Thus the background metaphor we have been searching in order to explain the literality of the metaphor mS1 is the assumption that something is a stall. This background assumption is the invisible organizer of the metaphorical order of speech through visible items of sentences.

The conceptualist theory of metaphor by Lakoff and Johnson (cf. 1981) reminds us exectly of this aspect of the metaphor issue. Metaphors we use in the normal or every day language - be it consciously or unconsciously - rely on deeper lying metaphoric conceptual structures. They built the unconscious level of our superficial language use. Thus a metaphor as "ausmisten" which is to paraphrase as "Mist austragen" is closely connected to our conception that abstract items, such as relations and ideas, are like physical items in the world, and that we do with abstract objects the same we do with physical ones. If we try to reconstruct a conceptualist explanation of the metaphoric expression mS1 then it looks like following:

If the speaker uses a metaphoric expression like mS1 in political discourse, then he implies that his job as a politician within a society or within a state is like a job in a peasant domain; both put things in order by removing bad things. This comparison is based on several background assumptions such as society is like a family, state is like a house, order in society/state is like order in family/house; order is good state/good house, disorder is bad state/bad house. Eventually, we associate the moral relationship between good and bad with expressions suggesting physical relations high and low or up and down: good state/good house is up, bad state/bad house is down, which fit with the physical positions of objects in the world; a good house is posited higher than a bad house: a bad house is compared to a stall, which is posited morally and physically as lower. Thus, we see that the metaphor mS1 can be explained as an indirect metaphor, based upon some intermediary metaphoric assumptions about political activity as an activity within "space": state "house", high-low, up-down etc. combined with moral assumptions about order which is also associated to the idea of space-order. According to the conceptualist theory of metaphor, these background metaphoric assumptions organize the surface-structure of our speech without a need for referring: i. e. in order to understand the metaphoric speech we do not need to ask what the real object is to which it is referred by the expression, we do not need to ask what the real meaning is. Metaphors are used because they are commonly shared by speakers of a language and, hence, they are understandable.

This kind of explanation fits with the evidence, I have pointed at the beginning, that the pproblem about the expression like mS1 is not whether it is understood or not, but rather why it has been used instead of a more convenient one as "Mist abbauen". This expression would be, if it had been used, the most closed of all possible metaphoric expressions, because it expresses the idea of "making order" and it contains etymologically the same element (the noun Mist from which the verb "ausmisten" morphologically stemms). As I have suggested above, the expressions "ausmisten" and "Mist abbauen" are not interchangeable, and thus, even if we accept the conceptualist explanation model which allows for a deep identification of political space (society and state) with physical forms of space (like house, stall, high, low, up, down), we are not given an explanation of the choice of metaphor. As a result, the appeal to deep levels of metaphoricity brings very little about understanding the specific character of a single metaphor, but only about identifying the background structures of its comprehensibility. But the comprehensibility of the metaphor mS1 has never been the real problem. It is obvious that it is very much understandable to native speakers or to every competent speaker of German. More over, the context of the the expression mS1, which is given by the whole clause cited above, seems to provide its full understandability. Thus we can turn back to the initial sentence.

"Wenn Haider kommt, dann wird ausgemistet, dann wird Ordnung gemacht in diesem Lande!"

It is obvious that the syntactic structure of the whole clause allows for removing the metaphoric expression mS1 ("es wird ausgemistet") without risk of destructing the clause:

"Wenn Haider kommt, (...) dann wird Ordnung gemacht in diesem Lande!"

This small intervention in the clause, the ommision of the metaphoric expression mS1, seems to reveal what the speaker intended to say by the metaphoric expression. The structural (syntactical) identity of two paratactically arranged clauses "dann wird ausgemistet" and "dann wird Ordnung gemacht" indicates that they have either identical or very close meaning. What this allows for is to say that "wird ausgemistet" means the same as "Ordnung wird gemacht". Thus the latter expression seems to be either a translation or an equivalent substitution for the expression mS1. If so, one could say that the speaker of the sentence, by the very same speech act, translates, substitutes or comments one part of his own speech by another. In this sense he performs a kind of metalinguistic activity, which is, according to language theories, a normal part of our linguistic behaviour. (It beginns with children's question: What does this mean? or with children's building first metaphors). Consequently, one can say that the speaker himself explains the meaning of his metaphor, that he interprets himself by appealing to a more understandable and more convenient expression than mS1, and the whole story about the metaphor can be concluded.

It is obvious that the expression "(es) wird Ordnung gemacht" is more convenient than the expression in mS1, and it is also obvious that the latter one is being, at least partly, explained by the former. One knows in German what "Ordnung machen" means rather than "ausmisten", and it is not being understood as a metaphoric expression, rather as a general and abstract formulation for the idea of "put things in proper places". In this sense it is certainly literal or more literal than the expression mS1, as used for the abstract idea of order. One does not say "ausmisten" if one wants to say "re-establish order by putting things in proper place". Hence, for further explanations, I am going to designate the expression "(es) wird Ordnung gemacht" as literal Sentence 2 (litS1), assumed to designate the literal meaning of mS1.

Another argument seems to ensure that two expressions relate to each other as metaphor and its literal translation. It is provided if one considers the anaphoric structure of reference between two expressions, a structure in which the one element of metaphoric speech is considered as leading to another which is eather equally or less or not at all metaphorical. Thus, the expression mS1 is leading to the expression litS1, and the relationship of "leading to" - albeit itself metaphorical - is provided by the fact that it is more metaphorical than the other expression, by common semantic content of two expressions (ausmisten, Ordnung machen by putting wrong things away) and by its position in S1: mS1 precedes the expression litS1 in the paratactical order of two "then"-clauses.

But the syntactical analysis of the sentence S1, as to identify the anaphorical type of reference between mS1 and litS1, makes sense only because we have already accepted the idea that one expression is more metaphoric than the other. But the fact that litES1 is less metaphoric, or not felt of as metaphoric by native speakers, does not provide a sufficient reason for considering it as real, objective or literal meaning of mES1. The difference between two expressions is not the difference betwen a metaphoric and a literal expression, but rather between more metaphoric and less metaphoric one, or between less convenient/usual and more convenient/usual one. Hence, the expression lS1 is in all respects just another, albeit convenient and less metaphoric (less strong), metaphor. Hence, it should be marked by abbreviation mS2.

As a result, the whole sentence performed by the speaker is not to be understood as a sample of self-interpreting or self-translating speech - of speech in which a metaphor is being resolved by speaker's giving it a proper literal meaning. Rather it is, as I suggested above, a sample of metaphoric speech which provides conditions of being literal. The main condition for this is the tacite, not expressed assumption that the "space" intended - and expressed in the words "in diesem Lande" - is a stall. It as, as I have suggested above, a necessary implication of the verb "ausmisten". The necessity of this implication is provided on one side by the language use-provided entailment that in Austrian German "ausmisten" is being performed only in stall, not in houses, and on the other side by the fact that it is analytically true of "ausmisten" that it entails the idea of space (misten aus, not ein, auf, durch etc.) Thus we have necesseraly to infer that "ausmisten" is being performed in a stall.

If seen against this background, the whole sentence I cited above must be seen in another light. It we take into consideration not only the expressions cited but also their respective immediate implications or entailments, then we can see that the sentence is in need of two supplemental items: The expression mS1, in order to be a complete sentence requires to be completed by a space indication just in the same way the expression mS2 is completed by the space indication "in diesem lande". Hence, the lacking space indication of mS1 has to be, if reconstructed in syntactical analogy to the rest of the clause, the expression "in diesem Stall". Thus, the parallel expressions mS1 and mS2 become two complete, and parallel, clauses:

(S1'): "Wenn Haider kommt, dann wird ausgemistet in diesem Stall!"

(S2'): "Wenn Haider kommt, dann wird Ordnung gemacht in diesem Lande!"

Since we know, that the expression "in diesem Stall" is not an explicite part of the sentence but has been omitted - and it can be omitted because it is a necessary entailment of the expression "ausmisten" - we may observe that both re-constructed versions of the former sentence relate to each other so closely that they can be combined and crossed with each other: first, they have a clause in common ("Wenn Haider kommt, ..."), second they contain in then-clauses two expressions which eaqually indicate another lingustic item as if they stood for another object than the explicite ones. The space-indications "in diesem Stall" and "in diesem Lande" indicate clearly nothing but one thing which is not mentioned explicitely. This is the proper name of the country, i. e. Austria. Thus we see that the name of Austria has been omitted in the sentence just as the abusive space-indication "in diesem Stall" has. "Stall" and "Austria" have been equally omitted in the sentence. On this ground we have enough reasons, provided by the syntactical structure of the sentence and by background implications of the items used, to make the following inference.

The "space" i. e. the stall in which dong has to be removed is Austria.

The space, i. e. the country in which order has to be established is Austria.

Thus the invisible referent of both metaphorical expressions has been identified as Austria; but it is a non-represented referent within the sentence, a real object indicated, to which the mataphoric expressions relate only by means of anaphorical approach. (As a matter of fact, the sentence ends with a substituent for Austria, with the noun "Land", and consequently the name of the country has been omitted. The reason for this is not provided only by the fact that the expression "in diesem Land" indicates clearly enough (albeit only by the context of the speech act) which country has been meant. It has been omitted because of the same reason why the expression "in diesem Stall" has not been used, and the reason seems to be speaker's avoiding to put together Austria and a stall, to compare them and translate or interpret them by one another. As a result, one may say that the real metaphor of the speaker, which has not been used, is the following one: "Austria is a stall." Instead, it has been replaced (metaphorized) by the next possible and the most closed metaphoric expression: "(es) wird ausgemistet".

On this background one has to consider the consequence that speaker's appeal to an inexplicite assumtion such as "This country, i. e. Austria, is a stall" may not have the status of just another, albeit more deeply positioned, metaphor, but that of an explanation. More precisely, the relation between two reconstructed sentences S1' and S2', if seen in the light of the basic metaphor-assumption "Austria is a stall", seems not to be the assumed one, namely that the more convenient or more literal expression mS2 ("(es) wird Ordnung gemacht!") explains, translates or interprets mS1 ("(es) wird ausgemistet!"), but quite the opposite. The basic metaphor-assumption that Austria (may) be a stall, provides a more precise explanation for the very usual and very trivial expression "Es wird Ordnung gemacht". The expression "Es wird ausgemistet" tells (or better: indicates) what kind of "order making" is intended. Namely that of "ausmisten", of cleaning "dong". Thus we are beeing inevitably, by circular moving of expressions whiche have been used instead of another, led to the the other, the tacite one, metaphor-assumption "Austria is a stall" .

Part III

Metaphor: The Most Powerful and Only Permeatable Means of ‘Dark’ Politics

According to conceptualist explanation of metaphor, as I understand it, it is possible to explain a particular case of metaphoric language use by appealing to deeper positioned metaphoric conceptions, which serve to explain the logic and conceptual motivation of the sample used, but it is not possible to thematize and to explain why a metaphor, be it a surface or a deep assumption metaphor, has been omitted. Also it is worth to be mentioned that the background metaphoric assumption "Austria is a stall" cannot be, in relation to the metaphoric expression mS1 ("es wird ausgemistet"), taken as a more general or conceptual metaphor; "Austria" and "stall" are not terms for abstract items such as "building", "space", but one singular and one general term. Therefore the metaphor "Austria is a stall" is not more general and not more "conceptual" than the expression mS1. Consequently, the relationship between these two metaphors is not to be described in terms of logic of general and singular terms but in terms of concurrent, compettant signifiers indicating one another. In terms of semiotic theory of language, we are to deal with a logic of signifiers, and we move on the so-called syntagmatic axis of speech (in difference to the so-called paradigmatic one, cf. Jakobson) which provides that items of speech do not replace but indicate or associate one another. This means that, while occupying a place in the flow of speech (of the text), items indicate that this is a place of possible another item which fits with the configuration of the place. In taking place, the speech-items replace one another for one another. This is, according to the semiotic theory of language, the reason why metaphors and metonymies  - the figures of replacement - stand for paradigmatic modes of language.

The lingusitic analysis of metaphoric expressions which are contained in the sentence cited has led to the result that the content of linguistic items is not to be described in term of literal language such as "Es wird ausgemistet because this country is a room-like space in which things are not arranged properly" but because the illumination providing assumption is given by another, even more drastic metaphor than mS1: Austria is a stall. However, the most important feature of this metaphoric expression is not that it says something about something, not that it is a kind of constative, but that itself has not been uttered. Therefore, as I would like tu suggest, the sense of this metaphor is not, and cannot be, to say something about Austria but rather to do something in Austria: namely, "ausmisten". Thus we turn back inevitably to the initial metaphor of the sentence but not without some cognitive bargain. The expression "ausmisten" is no more to be considered as an unconvenient metaphor stemming from the peasant-language, it is rather a "normal" expression whose literality is provided by the background assumption that this country is meant of as a stall. The relationship between two metaphoric items, between one which is an expression and one which is a tacite assumption, can comprehensivly be described in terms of anaphora which relates to the syntagmatic axis of speech. The two metaphors do not just replace or explain each other, but supply. The first one (mS1: "Es wird ausgemistet") indicates - and implies - that the other one (bmA: "Austria is a stall") is "working" providing in the background an emotionally loaded general assumption about the ultimately "bad state of reality". Austria appeares not as comparable to an disordered house, but as a dong-overloaded stall.

That this judgement carries some "real" content is not provided by the insightful competence of the speaker to make statements - it is being largly contested by political opponents - but by another real procedure in the political reality which can, again, be identified only on the rhetorical level of the current political doscourse.

It is known that, recently, Austrian farmers protested against the policy of the Government and they used, among other slogans, a very similar expression to the one I have been analysing. They carried a poster with the slogan: "Wir misten selbst aus". It is obvious that this slogan is meant as an answer to the expression mS1. But - and this is the crucial point - we know that not because the protest meeting of Austrian peasants in Vienna took place after the election meeting of FPÖ in Klagenfurt, and even not because it is a kind of citation, of repeating the verb "ausmisten". (Interestingly enough, it is exactly the citation of the expression which cannot be used as to demonstrate the connection between the two slogans and two political events: the verb "ausmisten" is an item of the normal peasant every day language, and it is them who are expected to use it.) Instead, one may observe that the slogan "Wir misten selbst aus" (abbreviated: mS4) contains a further element , the pronoun "selbst", which only indicates that the slogan is an answer and not just another sample of ausmisten-verb exploitation. The expression mS4 implies univocally, by means of exclusion, that it is we and not another who perform the action indicated, but in the same time it indicates that there is or was another - albeit unidentified - speaker to perform the same. Thus, the expression mS4, while citing the initial slogan, does not say who the speaker is, but indicates that there be one. It simply marks - or reminds of - his absent presence, re-presents him regardless of the question as to whether the speakers of mS4 agree or disagree with the speaker of mS1.

Therefore, it is the non-identical element "self", providing a significant difference between the two expressions, which ensures that mS4 is a citation or, better, an answer to mS1, and it is only this answer which provides that mS1 become a real event and not just rhetorical item of speech. However, it is not real in the sense that peasants in reality perform the action indicated (ausmisten) in front of the Austrian parliament. For if they had done this, the real action called ausmisten would have been nothing but another type of metaphor, a falling back to mere metaphoric, allegoric or symbolic performance. (But had they really tried to re-literalize the metaphor by performing the action of ausmisten, it would have inevitably first provoked laughter in the public and the intention to protest would possibly have failed. For everybody knows that peasants perform the action of ausmisten literally and expects them to do so, but not in the wrong place. Had they done it, they would have done the opposite: namely "Mist bauen". Conversaly, every other possible social group exept peasants would be allowed to perform the action of ausmisten literally because it then would have a symbolic value of saying "something else".)

It is real in the sense that people who usually perform the action and use the word "ausmisten" - i. e. people who are expected to be the normal user of the metaphor "ausmisten" when engaged in other contexts than peasant activities - appear in reality to use the expression in a new, inproper, but strictly definiable context, which is the political struggle. This very special group of people - farmers or peasants - are the only instance apt to give the metaphor expressed in mS1 an aspect of reality, albeit by using another metaphor (that in mS4). Thus the reality of the metaphor is not provided by approaching the literal meaning - by performance or another means whatever - but by a kind of application the metaphor which has once upon time (nearly two weeks before, indeed) been uttered by a speaker. The metaphoric expression mS4 can be adequately reformulated and interpreted as

(mS4-a): "Wir sind es, die ausmisten", and

(mS4-b): "Wir sind die Ausmister".

Thus, the repetition of the metaphor in mS1 turns out to be not just another sample of the same figure, but a real answer to it. This is provided by a small mark of difference, namely by the pronoun "self" which indicates both the real performer of the application of metaphor (peasants as a social group) and a completly new aspect of this performance: namely its character as being a re-definition of the people calling them "them-selves".

Grammatical transformation of sentence mS4 into fictive sentences mS4-a and mS4-b, which has been indicated above, reveals that the self-application of the metaphor by farmers entails a two-step-process of, first, self-identification ("Wir sind es, die ausmisten") and, second, self-denomination or re-naming themselves ("Wir sind die Ausmister") which is the answer to a preceding act of denomination (mS1), be it intentional or not, be it real or not. On this background, the version mS4-a, "Wir sind es, die ausmisten!" has to be read as "We are the ones, who have been appealed to!" (On this basis it is directly comparable to the famous slogan "Wir sind das Volk" used by people during Leipzig demonstrations from1989 which, due to another logic of rhetoric, soon turned to the slogan "Wir sind ein Volk!") In other words, the expression mS4 ("Wir misten selbst aus!"), as a case of self-application of the metaphor mS1, appears to be a self-induced call for interpellation or denomination by another speaker, i.e subject of speech. Accordingly, the metaphoric expression mS1 cannot be considered as an inproper or inconvenient metaphor any more, but as the most proper and convenient transporter (metaphor) of political messages, regardless of whether the speakers of mS4 are or not direct political followers of the speaker of mS1. Their mutual re-cognition is taking place through rhetoric means of language and it lasts as long as the metaphoric process is capable of providing a common sense. This common sense is, again, not identifiable by other means than by the metaphor "ausmisten". Hence, this metaphor is not more a means of understanding between speakers than it can be a means of misunderstanding, because it is not provided that both sides really mean the same thing. What one of them considers as "a stall" in which one has to "ausmisten", the other need not necessaryly to share. What they share is the indirect approach to one item they have in common: the critics of government. Whether the output of this criticism is the same on both sides, is not a clear issue, it depends on the political behaviour of both - or of any possible - participants in the metaphoric communication, since it is, by definition, more an indicator of behaviour than an abstract statement about state of things.

Nevertheless, it is only the answer to the metaphor - i. e. a rhetorical means of language - which casts light on the character of the latter as being a practical means of politics and not a style figure of speech. The promissive illocutionary force of mS4 ("Wir misten selbst aus!") recalls clearly the promissive illocutionary force of the initial sentence in which mS1 is embedded and in which the illocutionary force of promiss or anounciation seems covered by a more complicated syntactical structure than in mS4:

"Wenn Haider kommt, dann wird ausgemistet, dann wird die Ordnung gemacht in diesem Lande!"

It is clear that in this sentence, in difference to mS4 where the action to perform depends on no further condition ("Wir misten aus!), the performance of action indicated (ausmisten, Ordnung machen) is being made dependent on the condition indicated by the when/if-clause. But, given that the german conjunction "wenn" indicates both temporal and/or hypothestical condition, the sentence reveals an internal drama of transforming the ambiguity of conditions into univocity of meaning - namely into the temporal (and more real) instead of temporal-and-hypothetical (and less real) one. Hence, the promissive strenght of the sentence is provided only as long - and insofar - as the speaker is able to mask the hypothetical conditionality of his speech or, more precisely, to convert the hypothetical status of the content of sentence into peformative strenght of utterance. This conversion has been provided by choosing particular means of permissive speech: The hypothetical character of the German conjunction "wenn" in the first clause ("Wenn Haider kommt, ...") appeares recuperated by the impersonal passive form of the verb "ausmisten" (cf. "Es wird ausgemistet") which, in this context, does not indicate a constative sense, but an imperative saying indicating what has to be done while omitting further informations as to who is supposed to perform the action (subject said) or who is the author of the saying (subject of the utterance). The effect of this sample of imperative speech is anonymity of actors and immediacy of performing the action. As it is known, this is a means characteristic of indirect ordering to small children to perform actions such as sleeping, eating, going to toilet etc.

Thus the promissive character of the sentence turns out to be an imperative speech act projected into future. But in order to be real, it has to appeare as already realised, and to this purpuse the sentence is in need of an authority which cannot rely on hypothetical condition of being elected by sufficiant number of people or not. But the authority which is needed is not - and cannot be - given by any other instance than the speaker himself, and still it must not be identical with him, if it is expected to provide more than the speaker himself as a singular person and normal human being is able to. Thus, it is exactly the quest for authority which is needed for a promissive sentence to be a performative of persuasion, but also it is this quest for authority which necessarily causes a splitting within the subject of the saying into a subject of utterance and a subject of the sentence. The speaker of the sentence which I have been citing speaks of himself, unlike all other protagonists of the election campaign, in the third person singular: "Wenn H. kommt, ..." However, this issue seems not only to be an infantile feature of his person or of his political language game, but also to indicate the place of instance to which he appeals in order to legitimate his political conceptions and discoursive practice in politics. Since a comprehansive analysis of this complex issue cannot be provided by now, may the foregoing analysis suffice as to indicate the problem.

(continued from an earlier draft):

The one is a big cartoon with a photo-portray of the party president, all being coloured in intensive yellow and ressembling to the Camel-design. The cartoon carries the verbal message: "Er hat Euch nicht belogen!".

As such, the utterance "Er hat Euch nicht belogen!" has a meaning, simply because it is understandable for any competent user of the German, but it raises the question what sense does the utterance make. One can react in followings ways: "Oh, I didn't expect anybody to lye me", "I do not think of politics in terms of lying", "I don't think that all politicians lye, some do", "Why is he speaking of lying? How am I sure that he realy doesn't lye?" etc. Thus it becomes obvious that the sample of political slogans is an indirect speech act and it only makes sense if one associates a set of implication-utterances.

Combining two ways of reading the sentence as "Er hat Euch nicht belogen" or as "Er hat Euch nicht belogen" one may get following utterances (entailments and implications):


"(Nicht er, sondern) Andere haben Euch belogen"; "(Not him, but) Others have lyed".

"(Alle) Andere(n) Politiker lügen" ("All other politicians lye");

"Er ist einer, der nicht lügt" ("He is one who doesn't lye");


"Politik ist voll von Lügnern" ("Politics is full of lyers"); deep-level general implication of moral corruption;

"Es gibt einen, der nicht lügt" ("There is one who does not lye"); deep-level implication of existence of one non-corrupted individual (ontological exeption implication).

But these and other possible utterances (entailments or implications) make only the background semiotic framework for other, more dynamic and insofar real forms of rhetorical practice of the political representative mentioned. Namely it is this background-self-assumption of being a non-lyer among lyers which enables and legitimates him to use a hard rhetorical means to decleare specific political claims in the current Austrian election campaign. He is the author of the, meanwhile very well known, slogan "Es wird ausgemistet!", which we has been analysed above.



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