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Metaphor they heal by?


The purpose of this paper is to analyze the role of figurative speech in Medical English paying special attention to the use of metaphors in medical discourse. After briefly introducing the recent approaches to the study of metaphors based on psycholinguistic and neurolinguistic theories, we propose a qualitative analysis of selected medical texts with three aims: (1) at a lexical level, to find out how commonly doctors use metaphors to name pathologies, and to classify such metaphors in relation to their linguistic type; (2) at a psycholinguistic level, to investigate if metaphors, when used to denominate an illness, use metaphoric mappings; (3) at a communicative level, to establish if doctors’ naming pathologies are doctor- or patient-oriented.