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This paper explores conceptual metaphor as a news-story promoter in the English-as-a-native-language (ENL) and English-as-an-international-language (EIL) contexts, using a self-constructed corpus of 605 pairs of corresponding New York Times (NYT) and Times Supplement (TS) news stories. Identified from the corpus are the non-lexicalized linguistic realizations of conceptual metaphors in the headlines of the corresponding stories. Rhetorical functions of the identified conceptual metaphors are examined and analyzed with regard to their pragmatic roles as a news-story promoter. Metaphoric variations in figurative conventionality and cultural specificity between NYT and TS headlines are also discussed to reveal the effects of intercultural audience design. The results show that non-lexicalized metaphors foreground a stylistically appealing aspect of the story to draw the reader into the body of the story, that non-lexicalized metaphors in a grander style are used in NYT headlines to engage the ENL reader, that those in a plainer style are used in TS headlines to inform the EIL reader, and that non-lexicalized metaphors in the TS are in general less culture-specific than those in their NYT counterparts. The implication for EIL learning is discussed briefly at the end of the paper.
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