Use of Metaphor in Academic English

Metaphors are powerful cognitive tools in English language. The purpose of metaphors in the educational setting is to simplify the knowledge for the learners that is in abstract terms. Gestures are the material carriers of thought and they work on representing abstract concepts into a visual mode. Speakers often draw on multimodal resources and they put to use verbal and manual metaphors for a more expository cause.

Writers with English as a second language (ESL) often struggle with conventions of English Academic Writing (EAP). To be able to relate the knowledge of English conventions to ESL students is a very big challenge.

Literary experts have pointed out that metaphors are very important tools that help people to understand and comprehend unfamiliar and the intangible world through its mapping and coordination into a more physical and familiar world. In the educational setting they do a very helpful role of helping students to comprehend scientific knowledge. It is viewed as a framework that is rich with possibilities for both, students and teachers.

In English language the metaphor is always used in a specific context where it is understood by a specific group of people. When we talk of the educational setting,  a comprehension of each other with thoughts and conceptualisation of each other’s  expression is important. But at the same time they are intertwined and hence the need arises for a mediational role of metaphors for solely the expository purpose.

In an environment where the ESL writers need to be trained on academic writing conventions, the use of and metaphors play a very important role. They serve as an aid to depict a larger semantic meaning to the students so as to enhance their understanding. Metaphors become evident in the language of the writer, speaker and trainer in the case of interaction and writing of ESL writers. In the case of abstract concepts and topics the outburst of gestures and metaphors presented a very different understanding of the topic.

Thus, it can be said that they should be used liberally and on hands , particularly when the writer or the reader of the academic  text belongs to the English as  a second language category.

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