Instruction on Metaphors During a Study-Abroad Program: Students' Perceptions and Understandings




metaphor instruction, students’ perceptions, study abroad, heritage speakers, Spanish as a second language


It has been observed that language learners struggle to gain access to the metaphorical structures that are part of the target language and culture. In this study, six Spanish L2 learners and nine Spanish heritage speakers from the United States completed a study abroad program in Spain in which language instruction was supplemented with a module on the subject of metaphors. This article seeks to describe this module and present learners’ perceptions of its implementation and of the learnings resulting from it, as reflected in learners’ weekly reflections and exit questionnaire. The analysis of these data indicated that most participants became aware of metaphors in every-day language. However, they were not fully able to produce metaphors themselves. Pedagogical implications of this experience include differentiated metaphor instruction for heritage speakers and L2 learners, and fostering not just metaphor awareness but competence.

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Author Biography

C. Cecilia Tocaimaza-Hatch, University of Nebraska at Omaha

Ph. D. in Hispanic Linguistics, The University of Texas at Austin, TX, USA. Associate Professor, Foreign Languages and Literature, University of Nebraska at Omaha, NE, USA.


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How to Cite

Tocaimaza-Hatch, C. C. (2020). Instruction on Metaphors During a Study-Abroad Program: Students’ Perceptions and Understandings. Íkala, Revista De Lenguaje Y Cultura, 25(3), 625–642.



Empirical Studies