Article published in:Applied Cognitive Linguistics in Second Language Learning and Teaching
Edited by Jeannette Littlemore and Constanze Juchem-Grundmann
[AILA Review 23] 2010
► pp. 155–173
Metaphorical competence in EFL
Where are we and where should we be going? A view from the language classroom
Although there exists a number of studies that have shown the benefits of applying the cognitive linguistics notion of motivation to foster comprehension and retention of conventional English metaphors, relatively little attention has been paid to EFL learners’ productive use of metaphor in speech and writing. Using data gathered in a post-intermediate English language classroom, I describe and explore the metaphorical language used by undergraduate students in their writing. The data show that learners use metaphor to express their ideas on complex, abstract topics, but that the resulting metaphorical usage is not always conventional or felicitous. Since metaphor is deployed by EFL learners in response to particular communication demands, teachers need to find ways of providing appropriate feedback on learners’ efforts to make use of their limited linguistic resources to express their own meanings. However, how effective feedback is to be given is not always straightforward. I discuss some of the problems involved and suggest areas that are in need of further research.
Published online: 10 December 2010
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