Metaphor as a Rhetorical Tool in Selected Roman Catholic Bishops’ Pastoral Letters in Onitsha Ecclesiastical Province, Nigeria
V.C. Okafor

The purpose of this study is to investigate metaphor as a rhetorical device in selected Roman Catholic Bishops’ pastoral letters in Onitsha Ecclesiastical Province of Nigeria, in order to discover its effectiveness as a persuasive tool in the letters. Data for the study, which span between 2000 and 2010, were selected through purposive sampling from five dioceses out of the seven dioceses in the province. The data were analysed based on Conceptual Metaphor Theory as posited by Lakoff and Johnson (1980). Analysis revealed that Catholic bishops in Onitsha Ecclesiastical Province have effectively deployed metaphors of planting, journey, war, water, building, light, food, body parts, health and meteorology for the purpose of persuading their audience to accept their messages. The paper concludes that metaphor as a persuasive tool has been deployed by the Catholic bishops in Onitsha Ecclesiastical Province, in their pastoral letters. This study is a significant contribution to studies on the language and style of religion, especially in the area of Roman Catholic bishops’ pastoral letters whose language has not received adequate attention from linguistic scholars.

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