Academic journal article English Language Teaching

Self-Regulating Capacities as the Key to Boosting Up English Metaphor Acquisition

Academic journal article English Language Teaching

Self-Regulating Capacities as the Key to Boosting Up English Metaphor Acquisition

Article excerpt


This study aimed to determine the degree of metaphorical meaning acquisition reflected in the ratings of Mental Lexicon Organizations (MLOs) namely subordinate, compound and coordinate; and to explore the interaction effectsof the self-regulating capacities and age on the ratings. The method is quantitative. 261 out of 1278 students of English, Faculty of Languages and Literature, State University of Makassar were selected through stratified cluster random to participate in the English metaphor test and questionnaires. The data were analyzed by using t-test and Ordinal Logistic Regression. The results of the research designated that Ho that goes "metaphorical meaning acquisition is ≤75%" was accepted (only 65%) because the t-test value was lower than the t-table value that is -13.16 < 1.960. The predictors of emotional control and satiation had relationship with the ratings of MLOs. Thus, if one unit was increased in the predictors, it will increase the ratings (consecutively -.049 = 0.95 or equal to 5% and -.294 = 0.74 or equal to 25%). It is concluded that emotional control and satiation interacted with the age in the increase of metaphorical language. Meanwhile, the commitment did not have relationship with the ratings of MLOs. If one unit was increased in the predictor, it will lead to decrease the ratings, that is, 0.525 = 1.69 or equal to 69%. Thus, commitment did not interact with age in the increase of the ratings. Most probably there was another type of commitment believed by the students like incidental metaphor learning.

Keywords: Metaphor, acquisition, commitment, satiation, and emotion

1. Introduction

1.1 English Metaphor Learning

Themost fundamental aspect in learning English as a foreign language is word knowledgeor what so called by cognitivists metal lexicon. This knowledgeencompasses breadth and depth, that is, how many words are known and how deep each word is known, for example metaphoricalwords. The words stored or entrenched in learners' cognitive system or memory arecentral to language learning and of critical importance since learners enriched with wide mental lexicon can easily establish or improve their language capabilities.

Our knowledge of metaphorical meanings is also attached to our mental lexicon. In some extent, yet still contraversial, understanding metaphors is said to be a rather complex cognitive process (Tendahl:2009). It needs an extra cognitive process in the part of learners. In this case, a mental imagining ability is indispensable in conceptual processing by relating two rather similar but different mental spaces. "Chewing the gum", "swallowing foods", "coughing up mucus", "breaking off a stick" are instances of cognitively easily processed language. Yet, it would be, in turn, radically different when the students encounter expressions such as "chewing on an opinion", "swallowing one's pride", "coughing up a bad news", or "breaking off the friendship". This is one of the most frequently encountered problems on language learning when the languageparticles are used metaphorically, that is, when their literal meanings are extended to abstract or non-visible domains such as thoughts, intentions, feelings, attituteds, social and economic interaction.

By all accounts, the mental lexicon instruction, as a matter of fact, tends to be a neglected area in the foreign language learning. Nurweni and Read (Renandya, 2003) reportedly claimed in their research that on the average the first year students of universities outside Java Island of Indonesia solely achieved 1226 English words. In spite of the fact, a student of senior high school should have minimally acquired 4000-5000 English words. In addition, in most English curriculum of junior and senior high schools, English words seem to be instructed as such, not well-planned, and solely inserted in the learning of the four language skills. As the result, many teachers of English as a foreign language voiced their grievances pertaining to the students' scanty knowledge of English words. …

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