Refugees in the Dutch Newspaper Trouw: Understanding Society through Metaphor

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Munif Yusuf, Lilie M. Roosman


Refugees from conflict countries become the last few years an issue in the Netherlands. Sometimes there are frictions in the society about them. The objective of this paper is to show the function of metaphors to express what the society thinks about the refugees. The data of this research are taken from the Dutch online newspaper Trouw in 2017. The articles are searched with the keyword vluchtelingen ‘refugees’. Metaphors are identified through the comparison of the basic meanings and the contextual meanings and they must be superficially different (Yanow 2008 in Ritchie 2013). Further, the source domains of the metaphors are investigated. To understand better what the Dutch society think, the data will be analysed in two categories, namely positive and negative attitudes toward the refugees. The result is that the Dutch society does not seem to accept the refugees. That can be seen through the metaphors indammen ‘to limit’, demoniseren ‘consider someone evil’ splijtzwam ‘bacteria’. The result shows also that context is very important to establish metaphorical meaning.

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