The Implementation of Conceptual Metaphor as a Cognitive Solution to English Language Writing Challenges: The Effects on Writing Proficiency and Apprehension

Document Type : Original Article


Imam Khomeini International University, Qazvin, Iran



This study examined conceptual metaphor theory lunched by Lakoff and Johnson (1980) within a cognitive writing framework proposed by Flower and Hayes (1980). The main objectives of the study were improving Iranian EFL learners' writing proficiency, reducing their apprehension of English language writing, and moving from the traditional model of writing to the cognitive one through establishing an interaction between the learner's conceptual system and the natural experiences that form the framework of a text. To do that, a total of 120 EFL Bachelor-of-Arts (BA) students whose age ranged from 22 to 35 volunteered to participate in the study. The participants were first divided into two equal groups and then took part in particular training programs entitled traditional and cognitive writing courses. Using a two-way ANCOVA, the researchers, then, compared and evaluated the posttest results of both groups. The results of analysis revealed that the cognitive group experienced a remarkable growth in their posttest scores compared to the traditional one. The results indicated a fundamental change in the writing style for the cognitive group, their success in moving towards native-like writing proficiency, and a significant reduction in their apprehension of writing in English language. Using conceptual metaphors in writing provides teachers with feedback to incorporate idea generation, meaning construction and rhetorical writing in the writing courses. Findings suggest that conceptual metaphors may be worthy of teaching at universities as an effective tool in solving writing challenges, in particular apprehension of weakness in idea development.


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