A global health catastrophe brought on by COVID-19 profoundly altered how people view the world in their day-to-day existence. This led to the development of the internet meme, an evolving trend that is now utilised for humorous graphics and the multimodal expression of ideas. Social network users have created their own distinctive communicational methods that may be difficult for persons beyond a particular age to understand; this enabled social network users to communicate freely their ideas, thoughts, jokes and critiques of their societies and political leaders in a much more creative way. However literature is fraught with studies on complex semiotic constituents of memes in political, medical, and socio-economic discourses. Hence, not much linguistic studies have investigated COVID-19 memes through Conceptual Metaphor Theory (CMT). Thus, the study examined the types of conceptual metaphors in the selected Nigerians' COVID-19 internet memes using the CMT approach. Qualitative method was adopted for the study. The qualitative method accounted for the textual and content analysis of the metaphors found in each meme which were classified under the identified types of metaphors: imagistic, ontological, orientational, and structural. Six COVID-19 internet memes were chosen from Facebook using a purposeful sampling strategy based on the prevalence of the metaphorical linguistic portrayal of Nigerians. The chosen data ranged from March 14, 2020, to March 15, 2020. The research concentrated on analysing 6 online memes using the CMT to locate the metaphors because of the uneven distribution of the memes. Analysis with the conceptual metaphorical theory revealed that all the selected memes have metaphorical connotations, the metaphors identified were: image, structural, ontological and orientational, which all revealed the societal mindsets as well as unique paradigms of the effects and coping strategies that COVID-19 victims adopted in the course of the phenomenon. In conclusion, metaphors served as invaluable cognitive devices that enhanced in-depth meaning recovery from the studied COVID-19 internet memes. This study however, would motivate linguists and many inter-disciplinary researchers to further work on cognitive metaphors in other discourses.

    Keywords: Cognitive metaphors, Conceptual metaphors, Covid-19, Internet meme, Multimodal, Metaphor

    DOI: 10.36349/zamijoh.2023.v02i01.010

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    author/IDOWU, O. & MOHAMMED, E.T.

    journal/Zamfara IJOH Vol. 2, Issue 1