Volume 11, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2210-4070
  • E-ISSN: 2210-4097
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



In this article I investigate to what extent the use of metaphorical expressions in language learners’ texts vary according to the topic they have chosen to write about. The data come from the Norwegian learner corpus ASK, where the texts are from written assignments produced by adult second-language learners as part of an official Norwegian test and texts. Texts from two different prompts are selected, which are related to friendship and nature. Metaphors are defined according to conceptual metaphor theory and a triangulation of methods is used, alternating between a manual and an automatic extraction method.

The results confirm the hypothesis that the two different prompts given to the learners in a language test not only triggers different metaphorical expressions but also influences the amount of metaphor used in the learners’ writing. This knowledge is important to researchers for comparing the use of metaphors between different groups, such as between different learners or between students in different stages of education. It is also important for test designers who decide on topics to be used in tests and teachers who help learners prepare for their tests. In addition, it is of interest for researchers, educators in general and the learners themselves who are interested in the effect the use of metaphors in texts have on raters’ evaluations in high-stake tests.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Ahlgren, K. & Magnusson, U.
    (this issue). “Second part of the apple”: Friendship metaphors in second language writing.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Andersen, M. S.
    (2000) Metaphor matters. Hermes – Journal of Linguistics, 24, 57–80. download2.hermes.asb.dk/archive/download/H24_04.pdf
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Askeland, N.
    (2008) Lærebøker og forståing av kommunikasjon. Om forståing av begrepet kommunikasjon gjennom metaforar og metaforsignal i seks læreverk i norsk for ungdomstrinnet 1997–99. Oslo: Acta Humaniora.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Bednarek, M.
    (2008) Emotion talk across corpora. New York: Palgrave. 10.1057/9780230285712
    https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230285712 [Google Scholar]
  5. Boers, F., & Demecheleer, M.
    (1997) A few metaphorical models in (western) economic discourse”. InW. A. Liebert, G. Redeker & L. Waugh (Eds.), Discourse and perspective in cognitive linguistics (pp.115–129). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/cilt.151.10boe
    https://doi.org/10.1075/cilt.151.10boe [Google Scholar]
  6. Cameron, L.
    (2003) Metaphors in educational discourse. London: Continuum.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. (2008) Metaphor shifting in the dynamics of talk. InM. S. Zanotto, L. Cameron & M. C. Cavalcanti (Eds.),Confronting Metaphor in Use (pp45-62). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/pbns.173.04cam
    https://doi.org/10.1075/pbns.173.04cam [Google Scholar]
  8. Cameron, L. & Besser, S.
    (2004) Writing in English as an additional language at key stage 2. Leeds: University of Leeds.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Charteris-Black, J.
    (2004) Corpus approaches to critical metaphor analysis. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan. 10.1057/9780230000612
    https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230000612 [Google Scholar]
  10. Council of Europe
    Council of Europe (2001) Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Deignan, A.
    (2005) Metaphor and corpus linguistics. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/celcr.6
    https://doi.org/10.1075/celcr.6 [Google Scholar]
  12. (2008) Corpus linguistics and metaphor. InGibbs, R. W. Jr. (Eds.), The Cambridge handbook of metaphor and thought (pp.280–294). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511816802.018
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511816802.018 [Google Scholar]
  13. (2009) Searching for metaphorical patterns in corpora. InBaker, P. (Ed.), Contemporary corpus linguistics (pp.9–31). London: Continuum.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Gentner, D.
    (1982) Why nouns are learned before verbs: Linguistic relativity vs. natural partitioning. InKuczaj, S. (Ed.), Language development: Language, culture and cognition (pp.301–334). Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum Ass.
    [Google Scholar]
  15. Gibbs, R. W. Jr.
    (1994) The poetics of mind: Figurative thought, language and understanding. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Gimbel, J.
    (1998) Tyrkiske børns fagrelevante danske ordforråd i femte klasse. InJ. Møller, P. Quist, A. Holmen & J. N. Jørgensen (Eds.), Tosproget udvikling. Københavnerstudier i tosprogethed. Køgeserien, K4. Denmark: Lærerhøjskole.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. Golden, A.
    (1984) Fagord og andre ord i o-fagsbøker for grunnskolen. InA. Hvenekilde & E. Ryen (Eds.), ”Kan jeg få ordene dine, lærer”. Oslo: LNU/Cappelen.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. (2012) Metaphorical expressions in L2 production: The importance of text topic in corpus research. InF. MacArthur, J.-L. Oncins-Martínez, M. Sánchez-García, & A. M. Piquer-Píriz (Eds.), Metaphor in use: Context, culture, and communication (pp.135–148). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/hcp.38.11gol
    https://doi.org/10.1075/hcp.38.11gol [Google Scholar]
  19. (2017) Emotions negotiated in L2 texts: A corpus study of written production by adult learners on a Norwegian test. InA. Golden, S. Jarvis & K. Tenfjord (Eds.), Crosslinguistic influence and distinctive patterns of language learning: Findings and insights from a learner corpus (pp.188–230). Bristol: Multilingual Matters. 10.21832/9781783098774‑010
    https://doi.org/10.21832/9781783098774-010 [Google Scholar]
  20. (2018) Utvikling av ordforrådet på et andrespråk. InA.-K. H. Gujord & G. T. Randen (Eds.), Norsk som andrespråk – perspektiver på læring og utvikling (s.190–213). Cappelen Damm Akademisk.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Golden, A. & Kulbrandstad, L. A.
    (2021) When errors are corrected. InA. Golden, L. A. Kulbrandstad, & L. J. Zhang (Eds), Crossing Borders, Writing Texts, Being Evaluated: Cultural and Disciplinary Norms in Academic Writing. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Golden, A., Kulbrandstad, L. A. & Tenfjord, K.
    (2017) Evaluation of texts in tests, or: Where is the dog buried?InA. Golden, S. Jarvis & K. Tenfjord (Eds.), Crosslinguistic influence and distinctive patterns of language learning: Findings and insights from a learner corpus (pp.231–271). Bristol: Multilingual Matters. 10.21832/9781783098774‑011
    https://doi.org/10.21832/9781783098774-011 [Google Scholar]
  23. Grady, J.
    (1997) Foundations of meaning: Primary metaphors and primary scenes. Ph.D. dissertation, University of California, Berkeley.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Granger, S. & Paquot, M.
    (2009) Lexical Verbs in Academic Discourse. A corpus-driven study of learner use. InM. Charles, D. Pecorari & S. Hunston (Eds.), Academic writing: At the Interface of Corpus and Discourse (pp.193–214). London: Continuum.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Hamp-Lyons, L. & Prochnow, S.
    (1991) The difficulties of difficulty: Prompts in writing assessment. InS. Anivan (Ed.), Current Developments in Language Testing. Anthology Series 25 (pp.58–76). Singapore: Regional Language Centre. Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization.
    [Google Scholar]
  26. Harsch, C. and Rupp, A. A.
    (2011) Designing and scaling level-specific writing tasks in alignment with the CEFR: A test-centered approach. Language Assessment Quarterly, 8 (1), 1–13. 10.1080/15434303.2010.535575
    https://doi.org/10.1080/15434303.2010.535575 [Google Scholar]
  27. Huhta, A., Alanen, R., Tarnanen, M., Martin, M. & Hirvelä, T.
    (2014) Assessing learners’ writing skills in an SLA study: Validating the rating process across tasks, scales and languages. Language Testing, 22(1), 307–328. 10.1177/0265532214526176
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0265532214526176 [Google Scholar]
  28. Hyland, K.
    (2003) Second language writing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511667251
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511667251 [Google Scholar]
  29. Kahn, K.
    (2019) Becoming a citizen. Linguistic trials and negotiations in the UK. London: Bloomsbury.
    [Google Scholar]
  30. Klintenberg, B.
    (2014) Akademiska ord i kemi – en studie om högstadieelevers förståelse av akademiska ord i kemiläroböcker. Magisteruppsats. Göteborg: Göteborgs universitet.
    [Google Scholar]
  31. Koller, V.
    (2008) Brothers in arms: Contradictory metaphors in contemporary marketing discourse. InM. S. Zanotto, L. Cameron & M. C. Cavalcanti (Eds.), Confronting metaphor in use (pp.103–126). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/pbns.173.08kol
    https://doi.org/10.1075/pbns.173.08kol [Google Scholar]
  32. Kövecses, Z.
    (2000) Metaphor and emotion. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  33. (2002) Metaphor. A practical introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  34. Kövecses, Z.
    (2005) Metaphor in culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511614408
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511614408 [Google Scholar]
  35. Lakoff, G.
    (1987) Women, fire and dangerous things. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. 10.7208/chicago/9780226471013.001.0001
    https://doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226471013.001.0001 [Google Scholar]
  36. Lakoff, G. & Johnson, M.
    (1980) Metaphors we live by. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  37. (1999) Philosophy in the flesh. New York: Basic Books.
    [Google Scholar]
  38. Littlemore, J., & Low, G.
    (2006) Figurative thinking and foreign language learning. London: Palgrave Macmillan. 10.1057/9780230627567
    https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230627567 [Google Scholar]
  39. MacArthur, F.
    (2010) Metaphorical competence in EFL: Where are we and where should we be going? A view from the language classroom. AILA Review, 23(1), 155–173. 10.1075/aila.23.09mac
    https://doi.org/10.1075/aila.23.09mac [Google Scholar]
  40. Nacey, S.
    (2013) Metaphors in learner English. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. doi:  10.1075/milcc.2
    https://doi.org/10.1075/milcc.2 [Google Scholar]
  41. Nemati, M.
    (2003) The Relationship between Topic difficulty and Mode of Discourse: An In-depth study of EFL Writers’ Production, Recognition, and Attitude”. Iranian Journal of Applied Linguistics (IJAL), 6(2), 87–116.
    [Google Scholar]
  42. Olvegård, L.
    (2014) Herravälde. Är det bara killar eller? Andraspråksläsare möter lärobokstexter i historia för gymnasieskolan. Göteborg: Göteborgsstudier i nordisk språkvetenskap.
    [Google Scholar]
  43. Partington, A.
    (2003) The linguistics of political argument: the Spin-Doctor and the Wolf-Pack at the White House. London and New York: Routledge. 10.4324/9780203218259
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203218259 [Google Scholar]
  44. Philips, G.
    (2009) Non una donna in politica, ma una donna politica: Women’s political language in an Italian context. InK. Ahrens (Ed.), Politics, gender and conceptual metaphors (pp.83–111). Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan. 10.1057/9780230245235_5
    https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230245235_5 [Google Scholar]
  45. (2012) Locating metaphor candidates in specialized corpora using raw frequency and keyword lists. InF. MacArthur, J. Oncins-Martínez, M. Sánchez-García & A. Piquer-Píriz (Eds.) Metaphor in use: context, culture, and communication (pp.85–106). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/hcp.38.08phi
    https://doi.org/10.1075/hcp.38.08phi [Google Scholar]
  46. Pitzl, A. M.
    (2018) Creativity in English as a lingua franca: Idiom and metaphor. Boston: de Gruyter Mouton. 10.1515/9781501510083
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9781501510083 [Google Scholar]
  47. Reddy, M. J.
    (1993/1979) The conduit metaphor. A case of frame conflict in our language about language. InA. Ortony (Ed.), Metaphor and thought (pp.164–201). New York: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  48. Reid, J.
    (1990) Responding to different topic types: A quantitative analysis from a contrastive rhetoric perspectiveInB. Kroll (Ed.) Second language writing: Research insights for the classroom (pp.191–210). New York: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9781139524551.017
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139524551.017 [Google Scholar]
  49. Ruth, L., & Murphy, S.
    (1988) Designing writing tasks for the assessment of writing. Ablex Pub Corp.
    [Google Scholar]
  50. Semino, E. & Koller, V.
    (2009) Metaphor, politics and gender: A case study from Italy. InK. Ahrens (Ed.), Politics, gender and conceptual metaphors (pp.36–61). Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan. 10.1057/9780230245235_3
    https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230245235_3 [Google Scholar]
  51. Stålhammar, M.
    (1997) Metaforernas mönster i fackspråk och allmänspråk. Stockholm: Carlssons Bokforlag.
    [Google Scholar]
  52. Stefanowitsch, A.
    (2006) Words and their metaphors: A corpus-based approach. InS. T. Stefanowitsch, & A. Gries (Eds.), Corpus-based approaches to metaphor and metonymy (pp.63–105). Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter. 10.1515/9783110199895.63
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110199895.63 [Google Scholar]
  53. Tenfjord, K., Meurer, P. & Hofland, K.
    (2006) The ASK corpus – a language learner corpus of Norwegian as a second languagehttps://www.cs.brandeis.edu/~marc/misc/proceedings/lrec-2006/pdf/573_pdf.pdf
    [Google Scholar]
  54. Viberg, Å.
    (1993) Crosslinguistic perspectives on lexical organization and lexical progression. InK. Hyltenstam & Å. Viberg (Eds.), Progression and regression in language (pp.245–266). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  55. (1998) Crosslinguistic perspectives on lexical acquisition: the case of language-specific semantic differentiation. InK. Haastrup & Å. Viberg (Eds.), Perspectives on lexical acquisition in a second language (pp.175–208). Lund: Lund University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  56. (2012) Basic verbs in typological perspective. InM. Van Peteghem, P. Lauwers, E. Tobback, A. Demol & L. De Wilde (Eds.), Le verbe an verve: Réflections sur la syntaxe et la sémantique verbales (pp.255–273). Gent: Academia Press.
    [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error