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. 261–278
The relationship between topic and metaphor in second-language learners’ essays
In this article I investigate to what extent the use of metaphorical expressions in language learners’ texts vary according to the topic they have chosen to write about. The data come from the Norwegian learner corpus ASK, where the texts are from written assignments produced by adult second-language learners as part of an official Norwegian test and texts. Texts from two different prompts are selected, which are related to friendship and nature. Metaphors are defined according to conceptual metaphor theory and a triangulation of methods is used, alternating between a manual and an automatic extraction method.The results confirm the hypothesis that the two different prompts given to the learners in a language test not only triggers different metaphorical expressions but also influences the amount of metaphor used in the learners’ writing. This knowledge is important to researchers for comparing the use of metaphors between different groups, such as between different learners or between students in different stages of education. It is also important for test designers who decide on topics to be used in tests and teachers who help learners prepare for their tests. In addition, it is of interest for researchers, educators in general and the learners themselves who are interested in the effect the use of metaphors in texts have on raters’ evaluations in high-stake tests.
Keywords: second language writing, language testing, prompts in tests, text topics, vocabulary use, metaphors
Published online: 12 October 2021
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