Researchers contend that learners’ awareness of linguistic motivations is the key to second language acquisition, and so is to figurative language learning. One method adapts the idea of conceptual metaphors has been proved beneficial for improving learners’ awareness of and retention on figurative expressions. However, this method underestimates the importance of metonymy, the other pervasively used figurative language, and the potential difficulties caused by cultural differences among speakers from different language families. Another method which involves the idea of metaphoric mappings, though is believed helpful in providing systematic structures, still begs for empirical evidence of learning effects. The present study aims to investigate the effects of these two cognitive-oriented methods for learning figurative language, including metonymy and metaphor, in an EFL context. Sixty-eight Taiwan’s university students participated in the experiment, and were separated into two groups receiving two instructions respectively. The results demonstrate favorable influences on learners’ awareness and retention in both groups, but the instruction on metaphoric mappings is especially helpful in facilitating learners’ awareness of expressions involving abstract concepts with complicated mapping relationships. The results of the study shed light on the application to EFL teaching and learning of figurative language as well as instruction development.
Referred Proceedings of ALAA (Applied Linguistics Association of Australia) Conference, pp.610-639