International Journal of Applied Linguistics

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Volume 24 Issue 3 (November 2014), Pages 293-432

The influence of cultural universality and specificity on EFLlearners' comprehension of metaphor and metonymy (pages 312-336)

EFL learners may face different degrees of difficulty in transferring figurative expressions between L1 and L2 due to cultural similarities and differences embedded in languages. This study explores the influence of universality and specificity of culture on EFL learners' comprehension of metaphor and metonymy. Twenty eight Taiwanese EFL learners were asked to translate 12 English sentences into Chinese. Findings indicate that the participants performed the best when English and Chinese shared the same conceptual metaphors, and performed the worst when conceptual metaphors were distinct. The findings both support and qualify the interlanguage continuum of L2 acquisition. Suggestions to integrate conceptual metaphors and metonymies so as to effectively raise EFL learners' awareness of abstract concepts are made for future empirical research.

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