The use of metonymy and metaphor in descriptive essays by intermediate and advanced EFL students

Oleksandr Kapranov

Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Norway

Abstract

This article involves an empirical linguistic study aimed at elucidating the use of metonymy and metaphor in descriptive essays written by a group of intermediate EFL students (further referred to as ‘participants’). 20 participants were recruited at Stockholm University, Sweden and matched with a control group comprised of 20 advanced EFL students at the same university. The participants and their respective controls were given five pictorial stimuli containing famous architectural landmarks in Sweden. The participants and the control group were instructed to write a one paragraph descriptive essay about each pictorial stimulus using either i) an imaginary and creative approach or ii) a non-imaginary and purely descriptive approach. The corpus of the participants’ and controls’ essays was subsequently analysed in the computer program WordSmith (Scott, 1996). Quantitative analysis in WordSmith yielded descriptive statistics involving word frequencies. Then, the corpus was analysed manually for the presence of metonymy and metaphor. Qualitative findings seem to support previous research (MacArthur, 2010; Haghshenas & Hashemian, 2016), which suggests that the use of metonymy tends to be associated with the intermediate level of EFL writing, whilst both metonymy and metaphor are predominantly found in the writing by advanced EFL learners.

Keywords
advanced EFL level, essay, intermediate EFL level, metonymy, metaphor

Suggested citation

Kapranov, Oleksandr. 2017. The use of metonymy and metaphor in descriptive essays by intermediate and advanced EFL students. Linguistics Beyond and Within 3: 87-101. Online at: http://lingbaw.com/2017/Oleksandr-Kapranov.


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