How is Chinese English Learners’ L2 Metaphoric Competence Related to That of L1? An E-Prime-Based Multi-Dimensional Study

  •  Juanjuan Wang    
  •  Yi Sun    


Even though transfer from L1 to L2 has been repeatedly tested and confirmed, there is little literature and consensus on how and to what extent the L1 metaphoric competence could be related to that of L2. Based on the metaphor acceptability and response time of E-Prime experiments and two written tests of comprehension and production of metaphors on 94 intermediate Chinese-speaking university students of English, this study compares Chinese English learners’ similarities and differences in four dimensions (metaphor acceptability, identification speed, metaphor comprehension, and metaphor production) of metaphoric competence between L1 and L2 (here is Chinese and English). The results demonstrate that: Chinese English learners’ L1 metaphoric competence is significantly better than that of L2; their L2 metaphoric competence is significantly correlated to that of L1, and the regression analysis shows that L1 metaphoric competence has a significant prediction of that of L2. These findings enlighten us to greatly cultivate metaphoric competence in foreign language teaching and help students create connection between L1 and L2 metaphoric competence. This study also provides statistical support for the claim that metaphoric competence is a general trans-language cognitive ability for Chinese English learners.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1923-869X
  • ISSN(Online): 1923-8703
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: bimonthly

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