LINGUIST List 23.2825

Mon Jun 25 2012

FYI: Call for Book Chapters: Elicited Metaphor Analysis

Editor for this issue: Brent Miller <>

Date: 24-Jun-2012
From: Wan Wan <>
Subject: Call for Book Chapters: Elicited Metaphor Analysis
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Call for Book ChaptersDeadline for Abstracts: 16 November 2012Elicited Metaphor Analysis in Educational Discourse


Graham Low (The University of York, UK)Wan Wan (The University of York, UK)

General Description:

Scholars of metaphor have for several years collected evidence for theimportant claim that the use of elicited metaphor, as a research toolcan be helpful in raising reflection and consciousness among studentsand teachers, uncovering belief systems/conceptualisations of theirlearning and/or teaching practices and ultimately in predictingbehaviours 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 publishedmetaphor studies have examined teachers’ and students’ metaphorswith regard to their teaching and/or learning experiences, which arenormally either collected from analogical statements in conversation orwriting (e.g., interviews or personal narratives) or via completion of asort of sentence-completion task involving thinking of a metaphor orsimile in what is often called an ‘X is (like) Y’ structure (e.g., Learning islike…, Teaching is like…). The majority of these studies employ someversion of Conceptual Metaphor Theory (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980) andVygotskyan 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 ofexpressing it. Metaphor can accordingly act as a mediational toolwhereby interpretations are constructed from accounts (preferablymultiple accounts) given by people in specific social environments(Lantolf & Thorne, 2006).

Among these metaphor studies in education, an extremely smallproportion has started to investigate participants’ academic literacies(e.g., Armstrong, 2007, 2008; Davis, 2009; Hart, 2009; Paul &Armstrong, 2011; Villamil & de Guerrero, 2005), examine therelationships between participants’ metaphorical conceptualisationsand their associated actual practices (e.g., Wan, Low & Li, 2011), aswell as explore the integration of metaphors within/between levels in aneducational setting (e.g., Hart, 2009). Methodologically, although a fewrecent studies have reported the proportion of unsuccessful answers tothis type of elicited metaphor task, and identified a number of issuesconnected with task difficulty indicating that the challenge of findingtheir own working metaphors can be very difficult for some people,there appears to be little published work that has seriously addressedthe validity of the method used and suggested possible solutions (e.g.,Armstrong, Davis & Paulson, 2011; Wan, 2011). In addition, althoughmetaphor researchers have provided a general guide to metaphoranalysis that involves ''collecting examples of linguistic metaphors usedto talk about the topic…generalising from them to the conceptualmetaphors they exemplify, and using the result to suggestunderstandings or thought patterns which construct or constrainpeople’s beliefs or actions'' (Cameron & Low, 1999, p. 88), it seemsthat specific procedures for analysing informants’ metaphors oncecollected are less often explicitly described (Armstrong, Davis &Paulson, 2011). One common criticism of the analysis (of both elicitedand spontaneous metaphors) is that accurate determination of theconceptual metaphors via the investigation of linguistic metaphorsgiven by the participants suffers from all the problems of theresearcher’s ‘subjectivity’ involved in the interpretation. Moreover, theresearcher cannot make assumptions that his/her interpretations of theparticipants’ metaphoric language are accurate depictions of theiroriginal meaning. However, the very fact is that very few metaphorstudies discuss in any real detail the trustworthiness of their researchfindings.

The Overall Objectives of the Book:

The core aim of this proposed volume is to remedy these oversights inthe elicited metaphor studies and to resolve the problems with validityof the metaphor elicitation techniques used. The essential researchquestions 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 uncovertheir conceptualisations of their academic literacy practices?Q3. What is the relationship between informants’ metaphoricalconceptualisations about teaching/learning and their associated actualpractices?Q4. What happens when differential metaphors are used asgroups/levels interact with each other in educational discourse?Q5. Are there any possible solutions to improve the validity of metaphorelicitation techniques?Q6. Are there any possible ways to establish trustworthiness of elicitedmetaphor research?

We hope the proposed volume can be one of the first to(a) offer an overview of the current state of elicited metaphor researchand of the gaps/problems for scholars concerned with the use ofelicited metaphor in educational discourse;(b) serve as a resource book utilized by both undergraduate andpostgraduate 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 usefulmodels for PhD students, academics and professionals;(d) suggest possible solutions to improve the validity of metaphorelicitation techniques and establish the trustworthiness of the research.

Recommended Topics:

The papers in this collection will represent a shift in metaphor studiesbeyond using elicited metaphors to gain insights into informants’ beliefsystems/conceptualisations about general teaching and learning. Giventhe goals of the volume, empirical studies, review articles and state-of-the-art articles are all welcome on any of the following areas, but notlimited to:

(a) Conceptualisations of informants’ academic literacy practices(b) The relationship between informants' beliefs/conceptualisations and their associated actions in the classroomcontexts(c) The applications of findings concerning the interaction of differentialmetaphor use within/between levels in educational discourse(d) Methodological issues in doing elicited metaphor studies(e) Strategies of establishing the trustworthiness in elicited metaphorresearch(f) Theoretical framework used in doing elicited metaphor research ineducation

Contributing authors are encouraged to contact the editors beforesubmitting a chapter proposal to determine whether the proposedsubmission is within the scope of this book.

Submission Procedure:

Potential authors are invited to submit a maximum of two-page chapterproposals (including a few lines about the author(s)) in English to botheditors by 16th November 2012 ( The proposal should clearly state theobjectives of the intended chapter and its contents, as well as how thechapter 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 fullchapters of up to 8,000 words by May 17th 2013. Guidelines forpreparing the chapters will be sent upon acceptance of proposals.Inquiries and proposal submissions can be forwarded electronically toboth editors. The book is scheduled to be published in spring/summer2014 by an international publisher. All submitted chapters will bereviewed on a double-blind review basis. Contributors may also berequested to serve as reviewers for this book project.

Selected References:

Armstrong, S. L. (2007). Beginning the literacy transition:Postsecondary students' conceptualizations of academic writing indevelopmental 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 postsecondarydevelopmental contexts. The International Journal of Learning, 15(9),211-218.

Armstrong, S. L., Davis, H., & Paulson, E. J. (2011). The subjectivityproblem: Improving triangulation approaches in metaphor analysisstudies. International Journal of Qualitative Methods 10 (2), 151-163.

Cameron, L., & Low, G. D. (1999). Metaphor. Language Teaching, 32,77-96.

Davis, H. S. (2009). Student and teacher conceptualisations of reading:A metaphor analysis study of scripted reading interventions insecondary classrooms. Unpublished PhD dissertation. University ofCincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio.

de Guerrero, M. C. M., & Villamil, O. S. (2002). Metaphoricalconceptualization of ESL teaching and learning, Language TeachingResearch, 6 (2), 95-120.

Hart, G. A. (2009). Composing metaphors: Metaphors for writing in thecomposition classroom. Unpublished PhD thesis. Ohio University, Ohio.

Jin, L., & Cortazzi, M. (2011). More than a journey: learning in themetaphors of Chinese students and teachers. In: Jin, L., Cortazzi, M.(Eds.), Researching Chinese learners: Skills, perceptions andintercultural 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 thegenesis of L2 development. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Littlemore, J., & Low, G. D. (2006). Figurative thinking and foreignlanguage learning. New York: Palgrave McMillan.

Oxford, R., Tomlinson, S., Barcelos, A., Harrington, C., Lavine, R. Z.,Saleh, A., & Longhini, A. (1998). Clashing metaphors about classroomteachers: 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 ofAdolescent and Adult Literacy, 54(7), 494-503.

Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind and society: The development of highermental processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Villamil, O. S., de Guerrero, M. C. M. (2005). Constructing theoreticalnotions 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 analysisstudies: Problems with metaphor elicitation techniques. Metaphor andthe Social World, 1(2), 262–288.

Zapata, G. C., & Lacorte, M. (2007). Preservice and inserviceinstructors’ metaphorical constructions of second language teachers.Foreign Language Annals, 40(3), 521-534.

Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics; Discipline of Linguistics; Discourse Analysis; Language Acquisition

Page Updated: 25-Jun-2012