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Metaphor and Foreign Language Teaching

By Clarence Rice,2014-09-02 09:57
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Metaphor and Foreign Language Teaching

    Metaphor and Foreign Language Teaching

    AbstractMetaphor used to be considered as a conception in Rhetoric. With the development of cognitive linguistics, it is gradually proved that metaphor is not only a kind of lingual phenomenon, but as well as fundamental to the way human beings extend their ideas about their relationships and their knowledge of the word. Metaphor is of considerable importance to applied linguists, especially in foreign language teaching. So far, influenced by the metaphoric cognitive theory, more and more domestic scholars as well as scholars from aboard have put forward the idea that it is essential to foster students' metaphoric intelligence in teaching.

    In this thesis, it is argued that metaphoric intelligence is an important aspect of intelligence, and that it can contribute to language teaching success. It is thought to play a role in communicative competence and communication strategy usage. It is also discussed the necessity and importance to do foreign language teaching through metaphor. A number of activities are suggested which are designed to exploit and promote metaphoric intelligence in the language classroom. Therefore, how to foster students' metaphoric intelligence is a vital task for foreign language teaching .Four effective approaches available are provided in the last part for ease of reference for educators.

    Key words: metaphor, metaphoric intelligence, foreign language teaching, importance

摘要,隐喻?本来是修辞学的一个概念?认知语言学的发展逐渐证明?隐喻不仅仅是作为一种

    语言现象,它其实也是人类陈述他们彼此之间关系和认识世界的基础。隐喻对于应用语言学者是

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    非常更要的?尤其在外语教学中。目前?受到隐喻认知理论的影响?我国内外已有不少学者提出在教学中要注意培养学生的“隐喻能力

    在这篇论文中?笔者提出隐喻能力是能力的一个重要方面。 它有助于教学的成功?它对培养交际能力与交际策略起着一定的作用。本文还讨论了通过隐喻进行外语教学的必要性和重要性。本文还介绍了一些有利于开发和促进隐喻能力的活动。因此?怎样培养学生的隐喻能力对于外语教学是重要的。最后一部分他提出了四种有效的方法?以供教育工作者参考。

关键词,隐喻!隐喻能力!外语教学!重要性

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Contents

    Abstract………………………………………………………………………i 摘要…………………………………………………………………………ii Contents……………………………………………………………………iii Introduction…………………………………………………………………1 1. The reasons for teachers to use metaphors………………………1 2. Metaphoric intelligence and foreign language teaching…………3 2.1 Metaphoric intelligence………………………………………………3 2.2 Metaphoric intelligence used in teaching………………………………3 2.3 The ways that metaphoric intelligence contributes to foreign language

     teaching……………………………………………………………5 2.4 The benefits metaphoric intelligence brings to learning process6 2.4.1 Enriching language production…………………………………6 2.4.2 Affecting a learner‟s use of communication strategies…………7 2.4.2.1 Using metaphoric intelligence for word coinage………7 2.4.2.2 Using metaphoric intelligence for paraphrase ………9 2.5 Teaching techniques involving and promoting metaphoric

     intelligence…………………………………………………………10 2.5.1 Describing visual pictures…………………………………10 2.5.2 Drawing students‟ attention to the underlying metaphor……10

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    3. The ways to foster the students‟ metaphoric intelligence………11 3.1 Reading as many poetries as possible ………………………………11 3.2 Collecting metaphoric expressions……………………………………12 3.3 Making use of the metaphoric precognitive rules……………………14 3.4 Taking advantage of thinking in images available……………………15 Conclusion……………………………………………………………16 Bibliography…………………………………………………………18 Acknowledgement……………………………………………………19

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Introduction

    Traditional Rhetoric considers that metaphor is a kind of language phenomenon and it makes a comparison between two unlike elements. In other words, Metaphor is a tool to decorate or beautify a word or a sentence. However, cognitive linguistics considered metaphor is more a phenomenon of thought. It is a tool to comprehend and experience one thing through another. The above differences in defining metaphor lead to different opinions about conventional metaphor: The former regards it as dead metaphor, which has lost its creativeness and vigor, but the later think it is the most active part in language, because it has become one part of people's daily thought. Based on cognitive linguistics theories, this thesis argues that metaphor plays an important part in foreign language teaching. Therefore, the author thinks that it is an effective way to do foreign language teaching through fostering students' metaphoric intelligence.

1. The reasons for teachers to use metaphors

    A number of researchers in teacher education have demonstrated that metaphors represent cognitive and effective distillations of teachers‟ fundamental beliefs about teaching. The study of teachers‟

    metaphors appears to be a fruitful, indirect way to study important aspects of teachers‟ cognition. Therefore, teachers seem to use metaphors in account of learning for at least six reasons. Using metaphors may help teachers to identify for themselves what they actually experience. Using a metaphor enables teachers to verbalize what is unknown or difficult to describe in other terms. The metaphor frames a problem by putting it into words, thus defining its parameters. The metaphor is “the solution of the enigma”

    Metaphors may have the performance function of adding dramatic effect to the narrative of children‟s learning told in the staffroom or in a research interview.

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    Metaphors may express the meaning more concisely than a prolix non-metaphorical equivalent. At the same time, metaphors capture multiple meaning in experience.

    Metaphors can invite interaction by forcing listeners to work out the relevant resemblance between target and source domains.

    Metaphors have a function of organizing systematic concepts in teachers‟ cultural-cognitive models of

    learning .The metaphors in accounts of learning occur especially at points where the teacher interprets the children‟s learning, in the evaluation of the narrative.

    It is difficult to be sure whether the context, interpretation or narrative account organize the metaphor, as a key element of the teller‟s evaluation of learning , organizes the teacher‟s interpretation of learning and the subsequent account of it. It is possible that both processes are involved.

2. Metaphoric intelligence and foreign language teaching

    Metaphoric intelligence is an important aspect of intelligence, and that it can contribute to language learning success. It is thought to play a role in communicative competence and communication strategy usage.

    2.1 Metaphoric intelligence

    In recent years, there has been a substantial amount of interest in individual differences between foreign language learners. Although there are many ways in which learners can very (for example, age, gender, learning style, and motivation), intelligence is often thought to be one of the most significant predictors of language success. According to Gardner‟s (1983) theory of “multiple intelligences”. People vary in terms of eight types of intelligence, namely visual, verbal, mathematical, kinesthetic, interpersonal, interpersonal, naturalistic, and rhythmic intelligence. It has been said that each of these types of intelligence may have a bearing, not only on a student‟s ability to learn a foreign language,

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    but also on the teacher‟s tendency to favor a given teaching method. In this article, I argue that there is ninth kind of intelligence which is also likely to have an effect on language learning and teaching, namely “metaphoric intelligence”.

    2.2 Metaphoric intelligence used in teaching

    There is a great deal of variety in people‟s ability to produce and comprehend novel metaphors. In 1977, Pollio et al observed that when one listens to the conversations of different individuals: It soon becomes fairly obvious that certain people produce a great deal of figurative language while others scarcely produce any at all. Fortunately or unfortunately however, there has been almost no research into the personal characteristics of those people who use relatively more figurative expressions.

    As language teachers, we all must have observed this phenomenon in our classrooms and , in many cases, appreciated the richness of the language produced by those students who are able to manipulate novel metaphor effectively. Since Pollio et al‟s comments, a substantial amount of research has been carried out into variation between individuals in their ability to produce, understand and explain novel metaphors. Researchers who see metaphoric intelligence as a specific skill include Paivio and Walsh who claim “metaphor highlights the capacity of language users to create and understand novel linguistic combinations that may be literal nonsense?”

    The most comprehensive survey of metaphoric intelligence was carried out by Kogan, who, after completing a study of a number of tests of metaphoric intelligence that had been carried out on children, drew the conclusion that the ability to process metaphors functions as a relatively stable individual differences variable, and that those who are “less able to process metaphors can be said to have a more” literal thinking style.

    Further research suggests that metaphoric intelligence depends on the psychological processes of

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    “loose analogical reasoning and “divergent thinking”. Analogical reasoning is thought to be an important component of everyday problem solving. Holyoak makes a distinction between literal and metaphorical analogies. Literal analogies involve a close similarity between the characteristics of the analogous information and the new information which is to be understood. Metaphorical analogies involve the comparison of disparate types of information and a large stretch of the imagination is required for the similarities to be recognized. Evidence has been found to show that individual differences exist between those who seek literal, “tightly mapped and complete analogies and those who enjoy more unusual loose, incompletely mapped analogies. Those who enjoy loose analogies are more likely to display metaphoric intelligence.

    Having briefly discussed the psychological processes that underlie metaphoric intelligence, we now ask, of what practical use is it in the language classroom? There are two key questions here: What benefits might metaphoric intelligence brings to the language learning process? And what can language teachers do to accommodate metaphorically intelligent students within their classrooms? These questions are addressed in the following two sections.

    2.3 The ways that metaphoric intelligence contributes to foreign language teaching Metaphoric intelligence should be combined with language intelligence and communicative intelligence.

    Influenced by the traditional metaphoric theories, metaphor is regarded as the matter in the Rhetoric field in China. The definition of metaphor in “tzu hai” published in 1999 was the same as those came out in 1989 and 1979. What‟s more metaphor was merely considered to be one kind of figures of speech. What should be paid attention to was the relationship between the tenor and the vehicle. Based on the above statement, metaphor belongs to the Rhetoric, a kind of language in language teaching sketch or teaching practice, rather than viewing metaphor as an important ability. So far

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    influenced by the metaphoric cognitive theory, many scholars in or out China, have put forward the idea that it is essential to foster the students‟ metaphoric intelligence in teaching. Therefore, this intelligence is separated from other two intelligences.

    It is an important task to emphasis metaphoric intelligence and to study the influence that the metaphoric intelligence affects the language acquisition, which coincides with the language cognitive Linguistics theory that becomes the main stream gradually.

    Metaphor is not only a matter that can help enrich our language expression, but also a matter closely linked with our creative ideas and language acquisition. As a result, we should foster students‟ language and communicative intelligence in our language teaching , what‟s more important, we

    should think highly of using metaphoric intelligence.

    2.4 The benefits metaphoric intelligence brings to learning process

    2.4.1 Enriching language production

    The main benefits that metaphoric intelligence is likely to bring to the language learning process are that it enriches language production and facilitates comprehension of metaphoric expressions, which, as we saw above, are ubiquitous. It is therefore likely to contribute positively to an overall level of communicative competence.

    2.4.2 Affecting a learner‟s use of communication strategies

    Metaphoric intelligence is also likely to affect a learner‟s use of communication strategies. Communication strategies are defined by Tarone (1983;62) as “the speaker‟s attempt to communicate meaningful content, in the face of some apparent lacks in the language system.” In trying to communicate, a learner may have to make up for a lack of knowledge of grammar or vocabulary by relying on communication strategies such as word coinage and paraphrase. It is argued below that both word coinage and paraphrase can often require metaphoric intelligence.

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2.4.2.1 Using metaphoric intelligence for word coinage

    The strategy of word coinage often involves “metaphoric extension processes”. Metaphoric extension processes occur when speakers use words that are available to them in original or innovative ways in order to express the concepts they want. This process is often metaphorical in nature as it involves the ability to stretch the conventional boundaries of word meaning. The use of metaphoric processes to fill lexical gaps created by new semantic fields has been central to change and development in language. For example, Dirven (1985) gives an interesting historical account of the metaphorical extension of the word cup: the first recording of the word cup to denote a drinking vessel dates back to 1000,its first recorded use to denote a part of an acom is in 1545,its first recorded use to denote a hip - joint is in 1615,its first recorded use to denote a beverage is in 1773,its first recorded use to denote a hollow is in 1868 ,and its most recent recorded use is to denote a part of a bra(date unknown). this process of extension is not limited to nouns as Dirven demonstrates by means of a historical account of the various meanings of the adjective sweet: It is first recorded as meaning friendly in 825,it is first recorded as meaning melodious in 900,it is recorded as meaning not corrosive in 1577. Dirven contends that metaphorical processes account for the majority of meaning extensions of lexical items.

    Many examples of lexical innovation can be found in the literature on communication strategies. An example of a student with a strong preference for such a strategy is given by Ridley and Singleton (1995). They describe an English-speaking student of German who exhibited an unusually strong tendency to use word coinage and lexical innovation. For example, in order to translate the expression “a ranges of goods” into German she took the Geman adjective verschieden (meaning different) and

    from it she invented the new term verschiedenes. Thus she took an already known adjective “different”, extended it's meaning and changed its word class so that is referred to “a situation where

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