Eva Lepik
University of Tartu, Department of Semiotics


In the past few years there has been a number of articles in two of Estonia’s largest daily newspapers, Postimees and Eesti Päevaleht, in the titles of which crisis has been personified, or given the active role of a living creature. According to Lakoff and Johnson personification is an ontological metaphor, which helps us to understand experiences not related to human entities in the terms of human motivations and activities. The current article analyses these personifications and attempts to create based on them the portrait of crisis as it is revealed in the Estonian newspapers. It appears that crisis is a dangerous greedy and strong creature, which has great demolition powers and unpredictable character. At the same time it is clear that the “explanation” offered by the personification is only a part of the discourse of the crisis mythology, a strategy, which has been described by Roland Barthes.

Keywords: personification, myth, Roland Barthes, news titles, crisis