LINGUIST List 14.1690

Mon Jun 16 2003

Diss: Cognitive/Applied Ling: Li: 'The Acquisition..'

Editor for this issue: Naomi Fox <>


  1. Thomas-Fuyin-LI, The Acquisition of Metaphorical Expressions...

Message 1: The Acquisition of Metaphorical Expressions...

Date: Sun, 8 Jun 2003 11:03:22 +0800
From: Thomas-Fuyin-LI <>
Subject: The Acquisition of Metaphorical Expressions...

Institution: The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Program: Department of English/Applied Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2003

Author: Thomas, Fuyin LI

Title: The Acquisition of Metaphorical Expressions, Idioms, and Proverbs by
Chinese Learners of English: A Conceptual Metaphor and Image Schema Based

Linguistic Field:	Cognitive Science
			Applied Linguistics

Dissertation Director 1: Dr Joseph Hung
Dissertation Director 2: Dr Peter Crisp
Dissertation Abstract:

In this dissertation, the author argues for an "innovative" approach
to the systematic learning of metaphorical expressions, idioms and
proverbs, which is conceptual metaphor and image schema based
(CM-IS-based). This approach is based on conceptual metaphor theory
(Lakoff & Johnson 1980; Lakoff 1993), image schema theory (Johnson
1987), and on the empirical research of Gibbs (1992) and Gibbs et at
(1990; 1995; 1997). Drawing on the above research, a hierarchical
framework is established, which originates from embodied experiences,
and surfaces in linguistic expressions, which include metaphorical
expressions, idioms, and proverbs. The hierarchical framework
consists of four levels: embodied experiences----image
schemas---conceptual metaphors---linguistic expressions (including
metaphorical expressions, idioms and proverbs).

Because conceptual metaphors and image schemas have some specific
cognitive features, the author claims that both conceptual metaphors
and image schemas can facilitate the learning of those linguistic
expressions organized by them. Supports for the claim have been
identified from the following three sources of evidence: the Dual
Coding Theory, the Psychological Reality of Image Schema, and the
Psychological Reality of Hierarchical Structure.

The effectiveness of the CM-IS-based approach to the learning of
metaphorical expressions, idioms and proverbs is experimentally
explored and examined by means of five studies with the participation
of four hundred plus Chinese undergraduate students. Each study
consists of a pre-test, classroom treatment, a post-test,
questionnaires, and a one-week delayed test. The design and the
development of the learning materials were informed by cognitive
linguistics theories and the subjects' characteristics, including
their language proficiency.

In the light of the experimental results, the author discusses the
implications of the CM-IS-based approach for ESL/EFL learners'
vocabulary learning in general and the learning of metaphorical
expressions, idioms and proverbs in particular. The author also
explores the potential applications of the CM-IS-based to reading
comprehension and literary analysis.

The present research represents a bold attempt to bridge a huge gap
between the theoretical study of conceptual metaphors and image
schemas in cognitive linguistics on the one hand and the practical
applications of such theories in applied linguistics on the other.
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