Article published in:Metaphor in Education: A multilingual perspective
Edited by Katrin Ahlgren, Anne Golden and Ulrika Magnusson
[Metaphor and the Social World 11:2] 2021
► pp. 235–260
Figurative language in multilingual students’ L2 Swedish – a usage-based perspective
The aim of the current paper is to reinterpret some results of two previous studies on the mastery of figurative expressions from the perspective of usage-based linguistics. The reanalysis aims to shed more light on the learning and use of figurative language by multilingual students by exploring the complex interplay of linguistic creativity, expressivity, and conventionality in figurative expressions. The reinterpretation shows that many of the examples that were previously categorized as novel figurative expressions used in students’ writing, can be analyzed as instances of regular patterns, i.e. constructions, with certain lexical idiosyncrasies. Modifications of conventionalized figurative expressions are discussed and reinterpreted in terms of strength of entrenchment of links between form and meaning within certain constructions or links between constructions and conventionalized pragmatic information in the multilinguals’ mental construction. Implications for the treatment of Swedish figurative expressions in the second language class room are, in line with previous research, that focusing on regularity might reduce unpredictability, often seen as the core difficulty in the learning of such expressions in an L2. The paper also offers some directions for further investigation of the socio-cognitive processes involved in the learning of figurative language in an additional language.
Keywords: figurative expressions, Swedish, second language learning, usage-based linguistics, construction grammar, second language education
- 2.Usage-based theory, construction grammar, and L2 learning of figurative language
- 3.On climbing walls, becoming one with the sofa and spanner into the works
- 3.1 Climbing the walls or become one with the sofa?
- 3.2The spanner into the works
- 4.Reinterpretation of some results from a usage-based, constructionist perspective
- 4.1“Novel” figurative word combinations as constructions
- 4.2Modified figurative expressions and entrenchment of intra-, interconstructional, and pragmatic links in the learners’ constructicon
- 5.Concluding remarks – some implications for the learning and teaching of figurative language in multilingual educational settings
Published online: 12 October 2021
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