Health and illness in memes – People’s attitudes in words and pictures


  • Gabriela Corina Santa (Campean) “1 Decembrie 1918” University in Alba Iulia, Romania



memes, the concept of HEALTH, the concept of ILLNESS, conceptual metaphor


The paper aims to analyse memes dealing with the antagonistic concepts of HEALTH and ILLNESS so as to reveal how the two concepts are perceived and expressed on the Internet. The corpus comprises a set of memes in English dealing with the concepts of HEALTH and ILLNESS retrieved from specific websites dedicated to the topic or social media networks. A conceptualisation of the messages conveyed by the memes represents an objective as memes embody people’s attitudes and beliefs rooted in their mental lexicon. The starting point is to detect memes dealing with the concepts of HEALTH and ILLNESS and group them according to the criteria of the concept and conveyed message, followed by a stage of analysis to detect similarities and differences in approaching the two concepts. The semantic meaning of the memes and the relevance of the pictures are considered together and analysed accordingly, as there is an indissoluble connection between words and images in memes. Additionally, the analysis will lead to the stage in which the memes are clustered into conceptual metaphors as they link to the mental lexicon and concepts in people’s thoughts. Consequently, the memes are analysed and conceptual metaphors are identified so as to unveil similarities and differences concerning the vocabulary, images and concepts. Finally, the conceptual metaphors are interconnected to reveal additional similarities and differences between the expressions of the concepts.