Document Type: Research Paper


University of Isfahan


The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of two strategies of explicit teaching of economic terms on learners' vocabulary learning and retention. In the first explicit strategy, known as 'etymological elaboration', the focus was on presenting conceptual metaphors through 'identify-the-source' tasks, that is, providing the learners with the source domains underlying the metaphors, i.e., the literal meaning of the concepts. In the second explicit method, using 'identify-the-meaning' tasks, the metaphors were instructed by means of the context-based definitions. To be sure if there is any effect for the explicit teaching of metaphors or not, a third group was selected to function as the control group. In this group, the economic texts were taught in the traditional way, that is, by translating the texts into the learners' first language, i.e., Persian. The participants were three intact groups of university students majoring in Economics at Isfahan University, Isfahan, Iran. The results of the study demonstrated that the learners in Experimental Group 1 outperformed those in Experimental Group 2 and Control Group in vocabulary and retention tests. The study concluded that making students acquainted with the literal meaning of the conceptual metaphors, i.e., their underlying source domains will help them in learning and retention of technical economic terms.


Boers, F. (2000a). Metaphor awareness and vocabulary retention. Applied Linguistics, 21, 553–571.

Boers, F. (2000b). Enhancing metaphoric awareness in specialised reading. English for Specific Purposes, 19, 137–147.

Boers, F. (2003). Applied linguistics perspectives on cross-cultural variation in Conceptual Metaphor. Metaphor and Symbol, 18(4), 231–238.

Boers, F. (2004). Expanding learners’ vocabulary through metaphor awareness: What expansion, what learners, what vocabulary. In M. Achard & S. Niemeier (Eds.), Cognitive linguistics, second language acquisition and foreign language teaching (pp. 211–232).  New York: De Gruyter.

Boers, F. (2013). Cognitive Linguistic approaches to teaching vocabulary: Assessment and integration. Language Teaching, 46(2), 208–224.

Boers, F. & Demecheleer, M. (1997). A few metaphorical models in (western) economic discourse. In: Liebert, W. A., Redeke r, G., Waugh, L. (Eds.), Discourse and Perspective in Cognitive Linguistics (115-129). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Boers, F., &. Demecheleer, M., (1998). A cognitive semantic approach to teaching prepositions. English for Language Teaching Journal, 52(3),197-204.

Boers, F., Demecheleer. M & Eyckmans. J. (2004). Etymological elaboration as a strategy for learning figurative idioms. In P. Bogaards & B. Laufer (Eds.), Vocabulary in a second language: Selection, acquisition and testing (53-78). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Boers, F., & Lindstromberg, S. (2006). Cognitive linguistic applications in second or foreign language instruction: Rationale, proposals, and evaluation. In G. Kristiansen, M. Achard, R. Dirven, & F. J. R. de Mendoza Ibánez (Eds.), Cognitive linguistics: Current applications and future perspectives (pp. 305–355). New York: De Gruyter.

Boers, F., & Lindstromberg,S. (2008). Opening chapter: How cognitive linguistics can foster effective vocabulary teaching. In F. Boers & S. Lindstromberg (Eds.), Cognitive linguistic approaches to teaching vocabulary and phraseology (pp. 1–61). New York: De Gruyter.

Bogaards, P. & Laufer, B. (Eds.). (2004).Vocabulary in a second language. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Caballero, Rodriguez, M. (2003). How to talk shop through metaphor. Bringing metaphor research to the ESP classroom. English for Specific Purposes, 22, 177-194.

Cameron, L. (2003) Metaphor in Educational Discourse. London: Continuum.

Cermak, L. S. & Craik, F. I. M.  (1979). Levels of processing in human memory. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Charteris-Black, J. (2000).  Metaphor and vocabulary teaching in ESP economics.  English for Specific Purposes, 19, 149-165.

Charteris-Black, J., & Ennis. T. (2001). A comparative study of metaphor in Spanish and English financial reporting. English for Specific Purposes, 20(3), 249–266.

Charteris-Black, J., & Musolff, A. (2003). Battered hero or innocent victim? A comparative study of metaphors for euro trading in British and German financial reporting. English for Specific Purposes, 22(2), 153–176.

Clark, J. M., and Paivio. A. (1991). Dual coding theory and education. Educational Psychology Review, 3, 233–262.

Cohen, G., Eysenck M. W & LeVoi M.E. (1986).  Memory: A Cognitive Approach. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.

Cortés de los Rios, M. (2007). The teaching of metaphor and vocabulary used in financial advertising.  The ESPecialist, 28(1), 87–113.

Cho, K. (2010). Fostering the acquisition of English prepositions by Japanese learners with network and prototypes. In S. de Knop, F. Boers, & T. De Rycker (Eds.), Fostering language teaching efficiency through cognitive linguistics (pp. 259–276). New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Csábi, S. (2004). A cognitive linguistic view of polysemy in English and its implications for teaching. In M. Achard & S. Niemeier (eds.), Cognitive linguistics, second language acquisition and foreign language teaching. New York: De Gruyter.

Dakun, W. (2000). Vocabulary Acquisition: Implicit Learning and Explicit Teaching. REACT, 2, 15–22

Danesi, M. (1993). Metaphorical competence in second language acquisition and second language teaching: the neglected dimension. In J. E. Alatis (Ed.), Language, and Social meaning (48-500).Washington, D. C.: Georgetown University Press.

Danesi, M. (1995). Learning and teaching languages: The role of conceptual fluency. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 5(1), 3-20.

Danesi, M. (2000). Semiotics in Language Education. New York:  Mouton de Bruyter.

Deignan, A. D. Gabrýs, D. & A. Solska. (1997). Teaching English metaphors using cross-linguistic awareness-raising activities. ELT Journal, 51(4), 352–360.

Dudley-Evans, T. and John, M .St. (1998). Developments in English for specific purposes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ellis, N. (1994). Vocabulary acquisition: The implicit ins and outs of explicit cognitive mediation. In N. Ellis (Ed.), Implicit and explicit learning of languages (pp. 211-282), Academic Press, Harcout Brace & Company, Publishers.

Gass, S. (1999).Incidental vocabulary learning: Discussion. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 21(3), 19-33.

Gibbs, R. W. (1993). Process and products in making sense of tropes. In A. Ortony (Ed), Metaphor and Thought. Second edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Gibbs, R. W. (1994). The Poetics of Mind.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Guo, S. (2007). Is idiom comprehension influenced by metaphor awareness of the learners? A case study of Chinese EFL learners. The Linguistics Journal, 3(3), 148–166.

Hatch, E., & Brown, C. (1995). Vocabulary, semantics, and language education. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 

Henderson, W. (1982).  Metaphor in Economics.  Economics 18, 147-153.

Herrera, H. & White, M. (2000). Cognitive linguistics and the language learning process: a case from Economics. Estudios Ingleses de la Universidad Complutense 8, 55-78

Hertege.C. & T. Posecu (2013). Developing students` intercultural and collocational competence through analyzing the business press. Procedia- Social and Behavioral Sciences, 83, 378-382.

Hoang, H. (2014).Metaphor and Second Language Learning: The State of the Field. Electronic   Journal for English as a Second Language, 18(2),

Kalyuga, M., & Kalyuga, S. (2008). Metaphor awareness in teaching vocabulary. The Language Learning Journal, 36(2), 249–257.

Kӧvecses, Z. (1990). Emotion concepts. New York: Springer.

Kömür, Ş., & Çimen, Ş. (2009). Using conceptual metaphors in teaching idioms in a foreign language context. Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Dergisi (İLKE), 29, 205–222.

Lakoff, G. (1987). Women, fire and dangerous things: What categories reveal about the mind. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Lakoff, G., & Johnson, M. (1980). Metaphors we live by. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Langacker, R. (1987). Foundations of cognitive grammar. Vol.1: Theoretical prerequisites. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Langacker, R. (1987). Foundations of cognitive grammar. Vol.2: Descriptive applications. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Lazar, G. (1996). Using figurative language to expand students' vocabulary. English Language Teaching Journal, 50(1), 43-51.

Lewis, M. (1993). The lexical approach: The state of ELT and a way forward. London: Language Teaching Publications.

Li, T. F. (2009). Metaphor, image, and image schemas in second language pedagogy: The acquisition of metaphorical expressions, idioms, and proverbs by Chinese learners of English. Koln: Lambert Academic.

Lindstromberg, S. (1991). Metaphor and ESP: A ghost in the machine? English for Specific Purposes, 10(3), 207–225.

Lindstromberg, S. & Boers. F. (2005). From movement to metaphor with manner-of-movement verbs. Applied Linguistics, 26(2), 241–261.

Littlemore, J. and Low, G. (2006).  Metaphoric competence and communicative language ability. Applied Linguistics 27(2), 268-294.

Low, G. D. (1998) ‘On teaching metaphor.’ Applied Linguistics 9(2), 125-147.

MacLennan, C. (1994). Metaphors and prototypes in the learning teaching of grammar and vocabulary. IRAL, 32(2), 97–110.

Mahpeykar, N., & Tyler, A. (2014). A principled Cognitive Linguistics account of English phrasal verbs with “up” and “out.” Language and Cognition, 1–35.

McCarthy, M. (1990/1994). Vocabulary. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

McCloskey, D. (1983).  The rhetoric of economics.  Journal of       Economic Literature, 21, 481-517.

Nattinger, J. R. (1988). Some current trends in vocabulary teaching. In Carter and McCarthy (Eds.): Vocabulary and Language Teaching (pp 62-82). Harlow: Longman.

Pablos, A. P. (2009). Languages are (like) visuals: Linguistic considerations and potential usage.  Ibérica, 17, 99–118.

Paivio, A. (1971). Imagery and Verbal Processes. New York: Holt, Rinehart &Winston.

Paivio, A. (1986).  Mental Representations: A Dual Coding Approach. New York: Oxford University Press.

Roldán-Riejos, A., & Mansilla, P. Ú. (2013). Metaphor in the ESP engineering context. Ibérica, 25, 107–126.

Salager-Meyer, F. (1990). Metaphors in medical English prose: A comparative study with French and   Spanish. English for Specific Purposes, 9(2), 145–159.

Schmidt, R. (1990). The role of consciousness in second language learning. Applied Linguistics, 2, 129- 158.

Sweetser, E. (1990). From etymology to pragmatics: Metaphorical and cultural aspects of semantic structure. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Sznajder, H. S. (2010). A corpus- based evaluation of metaphor in a business English textbook. English for Specific Purposes, 29(1), 30– 42.

Taylor, J. (2003). Polysemy’s paradoxes. Language Sciences, 25(6), 637–655.

Verspoor, M., & Lowie, M. (2003). Making sense of polysemous words. Language Learning, 53(3), 547–586.

Wang, H., Runtsova, T., & Chen, H. (2013). Economy is an organism – a comparative study of metaphor in English and Russian economic discourse. Text & Talk, 33(2),259-288.

White, M., (2003). Metaphor and economics: the case of growth. English for Specific Purposes, 22(2), 131–15

Yasuda, S. (2010). Learning phrasal verbs through conceptual metaphors: A case of Japanese EFL learners. TESOL Quarterly, 44(2),250–273.

Yu, N. (1998). The Contemporary Theory of Metaphor: A Perspective from Chinese (10-11). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.