The Use of Metaphors in an EAL IT Lecture

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paperpeer-review


This presentation describes a study that looked at the use of metaphor as a resource in the English-as-an-additional-language science lecture at tertiary institution in Hong Kong. Both the lecturer and students shared the same first language, Cantonese, and the lecture was conducted in English. The metaphors found in the data include the ones that are purely spoken, a mix of both spoken and visual modes and very rarely purely visual ones. This presentation focuses on two particular metaphors to show how the lecturer carefully maps the source and the target to minimize mapping errors, and also the knowledge required to make the mapping possible. How the two metaphors evolve in the later part of the lecture to discuss other relevant concepts and how the lecturer refers to the specific again in different modes will also be presented. As suggested by Littlemore (2003), cultural background seems to play part in the metaphor interpretation. She has also found that metaphor has been a problem for lecture comprehension by international students (Littlemore, 2010). In this context, the explicit reference to local culture as a resource draws upon knowledge regarding the local culture or the broader Chinese culture in general facilitates the metaphor interpretation. Implications of these findings are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018
Event12th International Conference for Researching and Applying Metaphor - Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong
Duration: 27 Jun 201830 Jun 2018


Conference12th International Conference for Researching and Applying Metaphor
Country/TerritoryHong Kong
Internet address


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