Metaphorical Competence in Multilingual Context of Language Acquisition and Learning

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Abstract

It has been defended since Gibbs (1994) that in proper contexts people mostly use the metaphorical asset of a message rather than its literal meaning, which means that we tend to express ourselves metaphorically and that conceptual metaphors and metonymies are features of communicative interaction. In the present paper we discuss the notion of metaphorical competence (Aleshtar & Dowlatabadi, 2014: 1895) in the process of language acquisition and learning of a (multilingual) speaker in a multilingual context. Based on previous studies by Sinha and Jansen (2004), Kövecses (2005), Palmer & Sharifian (2007), Gibbs & Colston (2012) and Sharifian (2015), among others, we postulate that research in the area should be centred not exclusively on Language but on interaction in a triangle Cognition - Language - Culture, We defend the way one conceptualises the world is based on bodily experience, and is mediated by culture (cf. Yu, 2003, 2009; Batoréo, 2017a). In this study we present research from different language backgrounds both occidental (European Portuguese, English and Polish) and oriental ones (Mandarin Chinese). It focuses on conceptualization of emotions (e.g., emotional expression of feeling hungry) and moral values (e.g. courage). The analysis shows that it implies culture anchorage and/or physiological and cultural embodiment. We defend that conceptual appropriateness and metaphor awareness play a fundamental role in the acquisition of figurative language (cf. Doiz & Elizari, 2013), which is at least partially motivated, and thus can be object of insightful learning (cf. Boers et al., 2004).

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