Metaphor as a cognitive facilitator in L2 vocabulary acquisition


  • Dexter Yim The University of Oxford



metaphors, vocabulary acquisition, metaphorical competence, metaphorical awareness


Vocabulary acquisition is a cognitive activity that poses a significant challenge to second language learners. Non-literal language, particularly metaphor, has long been recognized as a potent cognitive and linguistic tool for expressing and understanding abstract concepts, emotions, and experiences. However, some contend that learning non-literal language may impede L2 vocabulary acquisition. This research paper aimed to investigate the impact of metaphorical competence and metaphorical awareness on vocabulary acquisition in second language learners based on theoretical and empirical studies. It examined a few studies that demonstrated how metaphorical competence and awareness facilitate vocabulary acquisition, such as scaffolding learners’ acquisition of word meanings and improving their vocabulary retention. The implications for L2 vocabulary research were discussed for future design, and pedagogical implications were proffered for educators.

Author Biography

  • Dexter Yim, The University of Oxford

    Dexter Yim is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Applied Linguistics for Language Teaching at The University of Oxford. After completing his studies in English Literature at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, he continued his academic journey by studying a master’s degree in creative writing and a PGDE (English Language Education) at The University of Edinburgh and The University of Hong Kong, respectively. With five years of experience teaching English in Hong Kong, his research interests include second language (L2) vocabulary acquisition, L2 motivation, language assessment, pedagogical approaches, and self-regulated learning.


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How to Cite

Yim, D. (2023). Metaphor as a cognitive facilitator in L2 vocabulary acquisition. Journal of Language Teaching, 3(5), 23-28.

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