FYI: Call for Book Chapters: Elicited Metaphor Analysis
Discipline of Linguistics
Call for Book Chapters
Deadline for Abstracts: 16 November 2012
Elicited Metaphor Analysis in Educational Discourse
Graham Low (The University of York, UK)
Wan Wan (The University of York, UK)
Scholars of metaphor have for several years collected evidence for the
important claim that the use of elicited metaphor, as a research tool
can be helpful in raising reflection and consciousness among students
and teachers, uncovering belief systems/conceptualisations of their
learning and/or teaching practices and ultimately in predicting
behaviours likely to follow from them (e.g., de Guerrero & Villamil,
2002; Jin & Cortazzi 2011; Oxford et al., 1998; Zapata & Lacorte,
2007). Over the last few decades, a large number of published
metaphor studies have examined teachers’ and students’ metaphors
with regard to their teaching and/or learning experiences, which are
normally either collected from analogical statements in conversation or
writing (e.g., interviews or personal narratives) or via completion of a
sort of sentence-completion task involving thinking of a metaphor or
simile in what is often called an ‘X is (like) Y’ structure (e.g., Learning is
like…, Teaching is like…). The majority of these studies employ some
version of Conceptual Metaphor Theory (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980) and
Vygotskyan notions of the interactive nature of language (i.e.,
metaphor) and thought (Vygotsky, 1978) within Sociocultural Theory,
whereby metaphor is seen as both a cognitive and social phenomenon
(Littlemore & Low, 2006), with language as one of several means of
expressing it. Metaphor can accordingly act as a mediational tool
whereby interpretations are constructed from accounts (preferably
multiple accounts) given by people in specific social environments
(Lantolf & Thorne, 2006).
Among these metaphor studies in education, an extremely small
proportion has started to investigate participants’ academic literacies
(e.g., Armstrong, 2007, 2008; Davis, 2009; Hart, 2009; Paul &
Armstrong, 2011; Villamil & de Guerrero, 2005), examine the
relationships between participants’ metaphorical conceptualisations
and their associated actual practices (e.g., Wan, Low & Li, 2011), as
well as explore the integration of metaphors within/between levels in an
educational setting (e.g., Hart, 2009). Methodologically, although a few
recent studies have reported the proportion of unsuccessful answers to
this type of elicited metaphor task, and identified a number of issues
connected with task difficulty indicating that the challenge of finding
their own working metaphors can be very difficult for some people,
there appears to be little published work that has seriously addressed
the validity of the method used and suggested possible solutions (e.g.,
Armstrong, Davis & Paulson, 2011; Wan, 2011). In addition, although
metaphor researchers have provided a general guide to metaphor
analysis that involves ''collecting examples of linguistic metaphors used
to talk about the topic…generalising from them to the conceptual
metaphors they exemplify, and using the result to suggest
understandings or thought patterns which construct or constrain
people’s beliefs or actions'' (Cameron & Low, 1999, p. 88), it seems
that specific procedures for analysing informants’ metaphors once
collected are less often explicitly described (Armstrong, Davis &
Paulson, 2011). One common criticism of the analysis (of both elicited
and spontaneous metaphors) is that accurate determination of the
conceptual metaphors via the investigation of linguistic metaphors
given by the participants suffers from all the problems of the
researcher’s ‘subjectivity’ involved in the interpretation. Moreover, the
researcher cannot make assumptions that his/her interpretations of the
participants’ metaphoric language are accurate depictions of their
original meaning. However, the very fact is that very few metaphor
studies discuss in any real detail the trustworthiness of their research
The Overall Objectives of the Book:
The core aim of this proposed volume is to remedy these oversights in
the elicited metaphor studies and to resolve the problems with validity
of the metaphor elicitation techniques used. The essential research
questions for this edited volume are as follows:
Q1. What is the current state of elicited metaphor research?
Q2. How far can the informants’ elicited metaphors be used to uncover
their conceptualisations of their academic literacy practices?
Q3. What is the relationship between informants’ metaphorical
conceptualisations about teaching/learning and their associated actual
Q4. What happens when differential metaphors are used as
groups/levels interact with each other in educational discourse?
Q5. Are there any possible solutions to improve the validity of metaphor
Q6. Are there any possible ways to establish trustworthiness of elicited
We hope the proposed volume can be one of the first to
(a) offer an overview of the current state of elicited metaphor research
and of the gaps/problems for scholars concerned with the use of
elicited metaphor in educational discourse;
(b) serve as a resource book utilized by both undergraduate and
postgraduate courses in the area of first/second language acquisition,
educational linguistics and learner beliefs about language education;
(c) present quality reports of research studies that serve as useful
models for PhD students, academics and professionals;
(d) suggest possible solutions to improve the validity of metaphor
elicitation techniques and establish the trustworthiness of the research.
The papers in this collection will represent a shift in metaphor studies
beyond using elicited metaphors to gain insights into informants’ belief
systems/conceptualisations about general teaching and learning. Given
the goals of the volume, empirical studies, review articles and state-of-
the-art articles are all welcome on any of the following areas, but not
(a) Conceptualisations of informants’ academic literacy practices
(b) The relationship between informants' beliefs/
conceptualisations and their associated actions in the classroom
(c) The applications of findings concerning the interaction of differential
metaphor use within/between levels in educational discourse
(d) Methodological issues in doing elicited metaphor studies
(e) Strategies of establishing the trustworthiness in elicited metaphor
(f) Theoretical framework used in doing elicited metaphor research in
Contributing authors are encouraged to contact the editors before
submitting a chapter proposal to determine whether the proposed
submission is within the scope of this book.
Potential authors are invited to submit a maximum of two-page chapter
proposals (including a few lines about the author(s)) in English to both
editors by 16th November 2012 (firstname.lastname@example.org and
email@example.com). The proposal should clearly state the
objectives of the intended chapter and its contents, as well as how the
chapter fits into the overall objectives of the proposed book.
Submissions should be made electronically in Microsoft Word Format.
Authors of accepted proposals will be notified by latest 31st Jan 2013.
Upon acceptance of their proposals, authors will have to submit full
chapters of up to 8,000 words by May 17th 2013. Guidelines for
preparing the chapters will be sent upon acceptance of proposals.
Inquiries and proposal submissions can be forwarded electronically to
both editors. The book is scheduled to be published in spring/summer
2014 by an international publisher. All submitted chapters will be
reviewed on a double-blind review basis. Contributors may also be
requested to serve as reviewers for this book project.
Armstrong, S. L. (2007). Beginning the literacy transition:
Postsecondary students' conceptualizations of academic writing in
developmental literacy Contexts. Unpublished doctoral dissertation,
University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Armstrong, S. L. (2008). Using metaphor analysis to uncover learners’
conceptualizations of academic literacies in postsecondary
developmental contexts. The International Journal of Learning, 15(9),
Armstrong, S. L., Davis, H., & Paulson, E. J. (2011). The subjectivity
problem: Improving triangulation approaches in metaphor analysis
studies. International Journal of Qualitative Methods 10 (2), 151-163.
Cameron, L., & Low, G. D. (1999). Metaphor. Language Teaching, 32,
Davis, H. S. (2009). Student and teacher conceptualisations of reading:
A metaphor analysis study of scripted reading interventions in
secondary classrooms. Unpublished PhD dissertation. University of
Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio.
de Guerrero, M. C. M., & Villamil, O. S. (2002). Metaphorical
conceptualization of ESL teaching and learning, Language Teaching
Research, 6 (2), 95-120.
Hart, G. A. (2009). Composing metaphors: Metaphors for writing in the
composition classroom. Unpublished PhD thesis. Ohio University, Ohio.
Jin, L., & Cortazzi, M. (2011). More than a journey: learning in the
metaphors of Chinese students and teachers. In: Jin, L., Cortazzi, M.
(Eds.), Researching Chinese learners: Skills, perceptions and
intercultural adaptations (pp.67-92). Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan.
Lakoff, G., & Johnson, M. (1980). Metaphors we live by. Chicago:
University of Chicago Press.
Lantolf, J. P., & Thorne, S. L. (2006). Sociocultural theory and the
genesis of L2 development. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Littlemore, J., & Low, G. D. (2006). Figurative thinking and foreign
language learning. New York: Palgrave McMillan.
Oxford, R., Tomlinson, S., Barcelos, A., Harrington, C., Lavine, R. Z.,
Saleh, A., & Longhini, A. (1998). Clashing metaphors about classroom
teachers: Toward a systematic typology for the language teaching field.
System, 26(1), 3-50.
Paulson, E. J., & Armstrong, S. L. (2011). Mountains and pit bulls:
Students' metaphors for college reading and writing. Journal of
Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 54(7), 494-503.
Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind and society: The development of higher
mental processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Villamil, O. S., de Guerrero, M. C. M. (2005). Constructing theoretical
notions of L2 writing through metaphor conceptualization. In: Bartels,
N. (Ed.), Applied linguistics in language teacher education (pp.79-90).
New York: Springer.
Wan, W., Low, G. D. & Li., M. (2011). From students’ and teachers’
perspectives: Metaphor analysis of beliefs about EFL teachers’ roles.
System, 39(3), 403-415.
Wan, W. (2011). An examination of the validity of metaphor analysis
studies: Problems with metaphor elicitation techniques. Metaphor and
the Social World, 1(2), 262–288.
Zapata, G. C., & Lacorte, M. (2007). Preservice and inservice
instructors’ metaphorical constructions of second language teachers.
Foreign Language Annals, 40(3), 521-534.