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The relationship between conceptual metaphors and classroom management language: reactions by native and non-native speakers of English

Author(s): Graham Low | Jeannette Littlemore

Journal: Ibérica
ISSN 1139-7241

Volume: 17;
Start page: 25;
Date: 2009;
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Keywords: metaphor | phrasal verbs | language learning | classroom management discourse

The use of the target language to manage a class and organise its work represents one of the few genuinely communicative uses of the target language in many formal foreign-language or bilingual-education teaching situations. It is thus important that both teachers and learners understand and know how to use the key expressions involved. These tend to be highly metaphoric (Low, 2008) with one particularly productive conceptual metaphor involving the JOURNEY (or TRAVEL) source domain seemingly standing out. There seems to have been little investigation to date into whether or not learners whose first language is not English actually understand the expressions involved in such classroom management language. Moreover, with the recent growing interest in the area of content-based learning, there is increasing pressure on language teachers, whose first language is not English, to use English as their classroom management language. Our first aim was to look at whether the acceptability judgements for classroom management expressions offered by non-native speaking teachers of English resembled those of native speakers, and whether these judgements reflected corpus findings regarding the frequency of usage in spoken English. To do this, we analysed native and non-native speaker responses to a short questionnaire. Our second aim was to look at how non-native speakers of English perceive the meanings of these expressions, comparing our findings to native speaker judgements and corpus results.
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