Metaphor in accounting discourse

L. Melissa Walters‐York (Drexel University, Philadelphia, USA)

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal

ISSN: 0951-3574

Publication date: 1 December 1996


The more orthodox versions of our discipline as well as other social sciences are grounded in the common presupposition that science and philosophy be expounded by an especially true level of language characterized by precision and absence of ambiguity. For this reason, tropological linguistic forms such as metaphor are often held to be illicit, as unimportant or nonessential frills, deviant and parasitic on normal usage, for use by none but the poet. Argues that metaphor, far from being a mere stylistic device, is an indispensable, and indeed inseparable ingredient of all discourses whether literary, scientific, philosophical, or accounting. Draws heavily on Black’s (1962, 1978, 1993) interaction account of metaphor as a basis for explicating the poetic and rhetorical roles that metaphor may play in accounting discourse. Through presentation of three primary propositions with supporting metaphoric illustrations, suggests that metaphor is very much a part of the way in which accountants create and disseminate meaning about the world as both part of mundane accounting discourse and extensions of discursive practices.



Melissa Walters‐York, L. (1996), "Metaphor in accounting discourse", Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 9 No. 5, pp. 45-70.

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Copyright © 1996, MCB UP Limited

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