This study evaluated two cognitive-oriented methods for learning figurative language in an EFL context to develop metaphoric competence. Sixty-eight Taiwanese university students participated in the experiment and were separated into two groups: one group received instruction involving conceptual metaphors, while the other group received instruction involving metaphoric mappings. A test was designed to measure the participants' ability to recognize metaphors and metonymies. The data collected from the pre-tests and post-tests were analyzed using a multiple regression model. The results demonstrated that both methods improved learners' awareness and retention of figurative language, confirming the beneficial influence of explicit instruction; in addition, the instruction on metaphoric mappings was more helpful in facilitating learners' awareness of expressions involving more abstract concepts with complicated mapping relationships. The findings shed light on the effectiveness of cognitive-oriented methods in the EFL teaching and learning of figurative expressions.
IRAL: International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching, 53(4), 415-438