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Learnability of cultural models through authentic materials: Focus on metaphorical competence and conceptual fluency

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Thesis type
(Dissertation) Ph.D.
Date created
This study investigated the effect of exposure to authentic and computer assisted language learning-based English materials on learners’ metaphorical competence and conceptual fluency in Iranian foreign/second language (L2) classrooms. Previous studies of classroom-based L2 learning using standard coursebooks indicate that students can develop excellent degrees of linguistic and communicative competences in their target language, but their discourse lacks conceptual accuracy. While their discourse output may have a high degree of verbal (formal) fluency, lack of conceptual fluency creates both comprehension and production misunderstandings and inappropriateness. For this research, in an effort to better understand and even remedy the problem, 53 Persian learners of English in Iran were divided into two groups and took part in the following experiment. Textbook-based materials were used with a control group while authentic materials and instruction by trained native speakers as online teachers were employed in the treatment class through the mediation of computer assisted language learning techniques. Qualitative and quantitative data were collected based on questionnaires as well as pre-, post- and delayed post-tests. Both control and experimental groups improved in their English language proficiency based on the statistical main effects. The results of the study at the post-test stage also showed that L2 learners' written and oral discourses had a more improved level of conceptual skill and metaphorical structure after being exposed to the authentic materials compared to the control group. This claim is based on the significant difference between the textbook-based and authentically-based approaches reflected in the data analyses. Delayed post-test data analysis showed differences between oral and written discourses. Oral discourse metaphorical density fell back to a limited extent though still degrees of improvement were visible. Participants in the experimental group produced less marked discourse with a higher metaphorical density. Also, the study indicated that conceptual fluency and metaphorical competence are two related phenomena and the development of each influences the other.
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Scholarly level
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Sosa, Manuel Juan
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