The Development of Conceptual Fluency and Metaphorical Competence in L2 Learners

  • Mahmood Hashemian
  • Mohammad Reza Talebi Nezhad


Conceptual Fluency (CF) and Metaphorical Competence (MC) have piqued the interest of a number of L2 researchers. Leading the front are Danesi (1992; 1995; 2003) and Johnson and Rosano (1993) who contend that metaphorical language cannot afford to be ignored by L2 curricula anymore. Their push is to instill in L2 learners a more functional communicative competence over a traditional formal competence. This article reports on a study carried out to scrutinize the development of CF and MC in Persian students of English. First, a group of language students (95 freshmen, 92 sophomores, 139 juniors, and 90 seniors) were tested to see whether they were conceptually and metaphorically competent, and the results showed they were almost bereft of such a competence, and the analysis of their written discourse uncovered a very low level of metaphorical density. The findings were in line with what Danesi (1992) has averred: L2 learners do not necessarily develop CF and MC after several years of study. Then, the juniors partook in the study for a six-month period in which they were exposed to and taught about the metaphorical language of English. The posttest results were indicative that they had developed their CF and MC to a large extent and that their written discourse was almost as metaphorically dense as that of native speakers. That is, the findings revealed that it is possible to develop CF and MC in a classroom setting. Finally, the data indicated that there is a relationship between CF and MC.
Hashemian, M., & Talebi Nezhad, M. R. (2007). The Development of Conceptual Fluency and Metaphorical Competence in L2 Learners. Linguistik Online, 30(1).