Metaphorical language in second language learners' essays: Products and processes

by Đoan Hạ Hoàng

Institution: Victoria University of Wellington
Year: 2015
Keywords: Metaphorical language; Second language writing; Second language acquisition; Metaphor production; Metaphoricity; Metaphor processing; Writing proficiency; Phraseology; Cognitive linguistics
Record ID: 1297086
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10063/4195


This two-phase project investigated metaphorical language use in second language learners’ essays from both perspectives of products and processes. The first phase relied on text analysis to examine the patterns of metaphorical language use in 396 undergraduate essays at four different year levels, focusing on the metaphoricity and the phraseology of their metaphorical language. The study has shown that there were differences in metaphorical language use at different year levels. Metaphorical language use was also found to correlate with writing grades. Conventional metaphorical language use, in particular, significantly explained writing grades. The second phase explored the learners’ thoughts behind their written production of metaphorical language using data from computer-logged keystrokes and stimulated retrospective interviews. It was found that there was a relationship between the locations and durations of the pauses and the metaphoricity and phraseology of the metaphorical language the participants produced. The study has shown that learners had low awareness of the metaphorical nature of the language they used, and that the underlying thoughts behind their metaphorical language use involved more non-metaphoric than metaphoric thinking. The project has added new knowledge to current scholarship of metaphor in second language learning and has significant implications for the teaching of L2 vocabulary and writing.