Volume 11, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2210-4070
  • E-ISSN: 2210-4097
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The aim of the current paper is to reinterpret some results of two previous studies on the mastery of figurative expressions from the perspective of usage-based linguistics. The reanalysis aims to shed more light on the learning and use of figurative language by multilingual students by exploring the complex interplay of linguistic creativity, expressivity, and conventionality in figurative expressions. The reinterpretation shows that many of the examples that were previously categorized as used in students’ writing, can be analyzed as instances of regular patterns, i.e. constructions, with certain lexical idiosyncrasies. Modifications of conventionalized figurative expressions are discussed and reinterpreted in terms of strength of entrenchment of links between form and meaning within certain constructions or links between constructions and conventionalized pragmatic information in the multilinguals’ mental construction. Implications for the treatment of Swedish figurative expressions in the second language class room are, in line with previous research, that focusing on regularity might reduce unpredictability, often seen as the core difficulty in the learning of such expressions in an L2. The paper also offers some directions for further investigation of the socio-cognitive processes involved in the learning of figurative language in an additional language.


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