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ISSN 2227-6017 (ONLINE), ISSN 2303-9868 (PRINT), DOI: 10.18454/IRJ.2227-6017
ПИ № ФС 77 - 51217, 16+


Скачать PDF ( ) Страницы: 151-153 Выпуск: № 05 (59) Часть 1 () Искать в Google Scholar


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Минасян Е. Т. ВЗАИМОСВЯЗЬ БИЗНЕСА И СПОРТА ВЫРАЖЕННАЯ МЕТАФОРИЧЕСКИ В ЯЗЫКЕ ДЕЛОВОГО ОБЩЕНИЯ / Е. Т. Минасян, В. О. Мидова // Международный научно-исследовательский журнал. — 2017. — № 05 (59) Часть 1. — С. 151—153. — URL: (дата обращения: 05.06.2020. ). doi: 10.23670/IRJ.2017.59.047
Минасян Е. Т. ВЗАИМОСВЯЗЬ БИЗНЕСА И СПОРТА ВЫРАЖЕННАЯ МЕТАФОРИЧЕСКИ В ЯЗЫКЕ ДЕЛОВОГО ОБЩЕНИЯ / Е. Т. Минасян, В. О. Мидова // Международный научно-исследовательский журнал. — 2017. — № 05 (59) Часть 1. — С. 151—153. doi: 10.23670/IRJ.2017.59.047



Минасян Е.Т.1, Мидова В.О.2

1ORCID: 0000-0001-5477-2960, Кандидат филологических наук, Доцент, 2ORCID: 0000-0002-2257-1395, Кандидат педогогических наук, Доцент, Российский экономический университет им. Г. В. Плеханова, Москва, Россия



Спорт как метафора и аналог для бизнеса доминирует в большинстве экономических статей и играет исключительную роль в деловом общении для выявления подразумеваемых смыслов жесткой конкуренции. Целью данной статьи было изучить основные аргументы, которые проводят параллели между спортом и бизнесом, так как большинство людей относятся к спорту как аналогу экономического конкурирования. В результате исследования определены основные спортивные метафоры, которые традиционно используются в бизнесе, а также проанализированы виды спорта где они получили наибольшее распространение, являясь интерпретацией их метафорических значений. Обосновываясь на когнитивном подходе спортивные метафоры представлены как лингвистические образные средства для восприятия абстрактных понятий бизнеса посредством более конкретных.

Ключевые слова: спортивная метафора, когнитивный подход, образные представления, абстрактные понятия.

Minasyan E. T.1, Midova V.O.2

1ORCID: 0000-0001-5477-2960, PhD, Associate Professor, 2ORCID: 0000-0002-2257-1395, PhD, Associate Professor, Plekhanov Russian University of Economics, Moscow, Russia



Sport as a metaphor and analogy for business is dominating in most economic articles and plays an utmost role in business communication revealing implied meanings of tough competitiveness. The aim of our study was to review the main arguments of drawing parallels between sports and business, as most people regard the former as an equivalent of business rivalry. The results of the article disclosed the major sport metaphors that are commonly used in business by analyzing which sport they originate from and interpreted their metaphorical implications. Grounded on cognitive approach sport metaphors are identified as powerful figurative devices to perceive abstract business concepts by way of more concrete ones.

Keywords: sport metaphor, cognitive approach, figurative device, abstract notions.


Metaphor as a means of figurative language has been treated purely as an inherent part of rhetorics or literature embellishing the speech and enriching the hidden shades of discourse. Hence, it is noteworthy to start the discussion of using metaphors both in speeches of celebrities and ordinary humans’ everyday conversations. As a way of illustrating our point, here are some lines form Mother Teresa’s poem, when in her seventies she wrote her own resume of her philosophy of life (A Complete Authorized Biography (1997) from The Preface book by Kathryn Spink):

Life is an opportunity, avail it.

Life is a beauty, admire it.

Life is bliss, taste it.

Life is a dream, realize it.

Life is a challenge, meet it.

Life is a duty, complete it.

Life is a game, play it.

The whole poem by Mother Teresa is fully metaphorical and built on metaphors about life with all its difficulties, joys and sorrows which make it unpredictable and full of surprises, i.e. life is a journey full of adventure. These examples serve as evidence that such abstract notions as difficulty, hope, happiness and chance are mapped figuratively in her poem with immaterial ideas of opportunity, dream, bliss, game, etc. Since we use these phrases ubiquitously in our daily speech, more than half of it is considered awash with trite metaphors. The last statement ‘Life is a game, play it’ is currently a kind of catchphrase (an idiom) on our lips used in daily discourse emphasizing the rough and competitive nature of relations and affairs, as we mostly see in sports.

The aim of this study was to reveal the widespread use of metaphors, mainly sport ones in business communication aligning sport activities with business competition.

Materials and methods

This study is an attempt to bring together all the sport metaphors implemented in the business coursebook Business Advantage (Upper-intermediate & Advanced) applied both for pre-experienced and post-experienced Business English learners in the system of tertiary education, in the frames of in-company or specialized language training courses. The analysis is based on cognitive theory of perceiving metaphors, which helps people to comprehend intangible notions and areas of experience by deciphering more tangible concepts. ‘Metaphor is primarily conceptual in nature, allowing mankind to understand relatively abstract or inherently unstructured subject matter in terms of a more concrete or more highly structured subject matter [1, P.133]. For the examination of interrelation between sports and business discourse the metaphorical mapping of source and target domains is used.

Discussion: Competitive environment and sport metaphors

In current globalized economic interactions metaphors in business English facilitate communication and convey the desired effect. As Zheng Jing states, “business English takes advantage of metaphors constantly to make abstract and complex economic and business concepts as well as phenomena vivid and easy to understand” [1, P. 132].  Frendo Evan in his book “How to teach Business English” proves this point by referring business English as an umbrella term covering phrases and words from every type of English, general or specific, and ‘a quick glance at the language of advertising shows a wonderful variety of metaphorical language’ [3, P. 7].

When we take a move towards the business environment and sport competition the most palpable and widely used metaphor is the ‘rat race’ where humans are equalized to rats and tough competition amongst rival companies or co-workers is a race. Below in the table are provided more examples mainly taken from the business English textbooks Business Advantage (Upper-intermediate & Advanced) [4, 5] identifying the origin and business interpretation of these metaphorical phrases. The examples and definitions are verified and supplemented from Business English Dictionary, Pearson Longman [2].

Table 1 – Sport metaphors implemented in Business English

Sport Metaphor Origin Example Business definition
Touch base baseball It is a good idea. Let’s touch base on that tomorrow. speak, clarify something
Kick off rugby/football The conference was scheduled to kick off at noon. start, to produce payments
Take it on the chin boxing It’s hard to accept, but sometimes we just have to take it on the chin. be strong and accept a difficult situation
The ball’s in their court tennis We’ve sent them our final offer, so now the ball’s in their court. they have to do sth before any progress can be made
Score an own goal hockey/football If we’re not careful here, we’ll score an own goal. make a decision with an opposite effect
Level playing field football In football in Europe, the playing field’s not very level. perfect competition
Compete in the same field football It wouldn’t make sense to have a couple of companies compete in the same field. a market with many companies producing the same product
Stretch goals/targets hockey Financial objectives are established which are based on a number of factors and are intended to be stretch targets. strategic objectives that are extremely difficult to achieve
Barred holds tennis No barred holds! no limitations or restrictions
Bandied around hockey Reverse innovation bandied around in boardrooms. discuss, brainstorm
Wrestle with sth wrestling Environmentalists wrestled with measures of, and frameworks for, sustainability. struggle against difficulties, problems



Nowadays, the relationship between business and sport is so deeply interweaved, that sport activities are widely implemented in companies for training team-playing skills, for reaching success in negotiations just by learning the rules of football, etc. Hence, after having a deeper look at the whole business environment and competitive sports, it becomes obvious that they are regarded as identical procedures, where business situation is imagined as ‘a playing field’, restrictions on procedures and activities are conveyed through ‘barred holds’, and fighting against difficulties is comparable with ‘wrestling with measures’. From the perspective of cognitive stylistics these metaphorical expressions are drawn from the source domain of various sport activities and rules, and are deciphered in humans’ understanding by mapping these abstract notions in the target domain through concrete concepts. Though the process of application of two domains occurs simultaneously, nonetheless the emphasis is on metaphorical aspects of words and phrases, their figurative meanings and hidden ideas.


Metaphors are prevalent in business English not only as a style of thinking, but as a way of explaining professional jargons and reproducing the richness of the language. By using a range of metaphors based on people’s experience and common sense it helps the communicators understand abstract economic notions and unfamiliar business activities better.

Largely, the relevance of sports in business education is becoming utmost not only in business discourse, but in entire business teaching. As many researchers prove, the connections between the worlds of competitive sport and competitive business are rather intense and obvious. Certainly, there are lessons to be learnt from professional competitive sports, like motor racing, in this case it involves people and teamwork. The boat race is a perfect example of developing leadership and team management skills.


  1. Jing Zheng, Translation of metaphors in Business English from a cognitive perspective // International Journal of English linguistics. – 2015. – Vol. 5. – No.2. – P. 132-138.
  2. Longman Business English Dictionary. (ed.) // Pearson Educated Limited. – 2007. – 594p.
  3. Frendo, E., How to teach business English // Pearson Longman. – 2005. – 160 p.
  4. Lisboa, M., Handford, M., Business Advantage (Advanced) (2012) // CUP. – 192p.
  5. Handford, M., Lisboa, M., Koester, A., Pitt, A., Business Advantage (Upper-intermediate) (2011) // CUP. – 192p.

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