Delving into EFL Learners’ Cultural Conceptions Through Metaphor Analysis

Mostafa Morady Moghaddam, Mina Gholamzadeh


Metaphors are the windows through which it is possible to see individuals’ particular way of thinking. In this paper, a case is made through investigating L2 learners’ metaphors conceptualizing English culture. The data elicited by using the prompt “English culture is like… because…” and the dominant metaphors were identified with reference to the frequency of each metaphor. In total, 67 conceptual metaphors were placed under 14 specific categories. These 14 categories were further divided into three broad categories as: 1) culture as a positive factor; 2) culture as a negative factor; and 3) culture as an unintelligible factor. Of particular interest is the use of positive metaphors to represent culture. The findings showed that the choice of metaphors is different regarding learners’ proficiency level. With beginners, English culture is mostly realized as a negative factor. However, in intermediate and advanced levels, learners are more optimistic about English culture and the dominating ideology is a positive view. Moreover, learners’ conceptualization of second-language culture was different regarding gender. Finally, Chi-square test was computed to find out whether the differences are meaningful. The findings of this article are useful for investigating, selecting, and teaching cultural aspects in EFL classes. Hence, the results are of interest for researchers, material developers, and teachers.
Key words: Culture; SLA; Metaphor; Proficiency level; Gender; EFL learners


Culture; SLA; Metaphor; Proficiency level; Gender; EFL learners


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