The Role of Input in the Use of Metaphor in L2 Writing
Keywords:metaphor, learner English, textbook, written production, input/output
In comparison with the important number of studies devoted to metaphor comprehension by L2 speakers, scant attention has been paid to metaphor production, which would also require an account of where to find support for metaphor use. This paper explores the role that topic-based input may play in written learner discourse after exposure to metaphor-mediated instruction. MIPVU (Steen et al.), a well-known method to identify metaphor, was applied to one textbook unit as well as to essays on the same topic produced by L2 learners of English (N = 22) preparing for B2 level. The analysis revealed a remarkably high density of open-class metaphors ranging from 17.9% to 19.8% across both input and output texts. Furthermore, some similarities between input and output were found regarding not only metaphor density but also types (open- vs. closed-class metaphors) and distribution by word class. These findings suggest preliminary insights into how topic similarity may provide some support for metaphor use in metaphor-mediated instruction.
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