Towards a felicity scale of metaphor use in ELF/L2 English interaction: How can we measure communicative success?

Felicity scale

Fiona MacArthur (formerly University of Extremadura, Spain) & Susan Nacey (Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences, Norway)

From 10 to 30 participants

Contact the organizers  here.

Describing and classifying the metaphors used by L2 speakers poses considerable methodological and analytical challenges. How useful is it, for example, to classify the metaphors L2 speakers produce as unconventional, creative or simply erroneous when they deviate from standard L1 norms? On what basis could L2 metaphoric productions be deemed communicatively successful or unsuccessful, apt or irrelevant? More generally, what constitutes robust evidence for the successful sharing of a metaphorically expressed idea in L2 or lingua franca (LF) interactions?

 The aim of this workshop is to provide a forum for discussion and practical experience with metaphor-driven analyses of LF/L2 English data. The conveners will begin by identifying some of the issues raised by different approaches adopted to L2 metaphor use (including, among others, its context of production). This overview will be followed by a brief consideration of the potential value of an interactional approach to L2 metaphor use, i.e. one that pays attention not only to the linguistic product of one speaker/writer, but to its uptake by his/her interlocutors.

 Participants will jointly explore data retrieved from a variety of sources (e.g. VOICE corpus, EuroCoAT corpus, online discussion forum threads, etc.), in order to assess the extent to which it is possible to identify successful communication of a metaphorically expressed idea on the basis of the linguistic evidence in spoken or written interaction.

 The hands-on group explorations and discussion will be followed by a plenary discussion of the issues encountered, in order to draw conclusions about how best to approach “successful” communication through metaphor in a second language. Although English data is investigated here, this workshop is relevant for anyone interested in metaphor in an L2, regardless of the specific language in question.

 The workshop is open to all interested in metaphor-driven analyses of L2 discourse, at whatever stage of their research career.

About the organizers

Fiona MacArthur (formerly a Senior Lecturer at the University of Extremadura [Spain]) investigates the often subtle differences that exist between metaphorical conceptualisations and linguistic expression of the same concepts in different languages and the problems this may cause in intercultural communication. She is the author of numerous publications on this topic, published in international peer-reviewed journals and edited volumes.

Susan Nacey is a professor of linguistics at Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences and the author of Metaphors in learner language (John Benjamins, 2013) and co-editor of Metaphor identification in multiple languages: MIPVU around the world (John Benjamins, in press 2019). She has researched metaphor and other features in a wide variety of text types in written and spoken language, mainly in English and Norwegian. Methodology is a particular concern for her, particularly metaphor identification. Read more about Susan Nacey here.

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