How do Taiwanese second-language learners learn English body part metonymy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

This chapter investigates the ability of Taiwanese second language (L2) learners to negotiate the meaning of human bodily life-form metonymies. Metonymies are important for ESL learners as they provide conceptual motivation for figurative language expressions, and many of these with source lexemes derived from the human body or bodily experiences (Kövecses in Applied cognitive linguistics II: language pedagogy. Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin, pp. 88-89, (2001). The analysis for the current study draws on the theory of chained metonymy proposed by Hilpert (Aspects of meaning construction. John Benjamins, Amsterdam, pp. 78- 94, (2007), and the idea that body parts combined with worldly bodily experience promotes comprehension (Kövecses in Applied cognitive linguistics II: language pedagogy. Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin, pp. 88-89, 2001; De Vega et al. in Mem Cognit 32(7): 1033-1043, 2004; Hilpert in Aspects of meaning construction. John Benjamins, Amsterdam, pp. 78-94, (2007). The analysis investigates metonymic comprehension based on two research questions and is divided according to 3 lexical categories: metonymic nouns, verbs, and adjectives. The research questions are: (1) Do complementary pair (based on sensorimotor system, location, and classification) human body life-form metonymies have a role in performance among the 3 lexical categories? (2) What are the metonymic comprehension rates after dividing the data according to Hilpert’s (Aspects of meaning construction. John Benjamins, Amsterdam, pp. 78-94, (2007) four types of conceptual mappings for meaning extension? The study also investigates metonymic comprehension according to grade, gender, and corpus appearance frequency. Thirty-four Taiwanese high school students from 11 different high schools in greater Tainan, Taiwan, took a multiple choice test to determine their metonymic competence. The findings are: (1) We saw acceptable rates no matter how we analyzed the data according to the metonymy performance. (2) During the analysis, a steady trend of adjectives outperforming nouns and verbs was found, which runs contrary to the “adjective deficit” (Polinsky in Perspectives on language development. Kluwer, Boston, p. 427, (2005) and accepted models of lexical category acquisition (Polinsky in Perspectives on language development. Kluwer, Boston, p. 427, 2005; Tardif in The handbook of East Asian psycholinguistics (p. (132). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, (2006).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEmbodiment in Language (II)
Subtitle of host publicationFood, Emotion and Beyond
PublisherSpringer Singapore
Pages177-193
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9789811017995
ISBN (Print)9789811017971
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jan 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)

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