The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Understanding Conceptual Metaphors in Dual Language Immersion Classrooms: A Longitudinal Perspective

Alessandro Rosborough, Brigham Young University (United States)

Paul Ricks, Brigham Young University (United States)

Karla Rodriguez-Perry, Brigham Young University (United States)

Shea Tanner, Brigham Young University (United States)

Lauren Johnson, Brigham Young University (United States)

Corinna Peterken, Brigham Young University (United States)

Giardely Baca, Brigham Young University (United States)


This study focuses on communicative language patterns, specifically conceptual metaphors (CMs), as a critical component of everyday language in dual language immersion (DLI) settings. Conceptual Metaphor Theory introduced by Lakoff and Johnson (1980), explained CMs as going beyond basic language issues to influencing perspectives, orientations, and experiences in a person’s life. In this study, natural DLI classroom discourse was studied to address how CMs were used among teachers and students in Spanish-English classrooms. We asked how the use of CMs supported or disjointed meaning and how these moments empowered or disempowered the students’ learning experience. We viewed conceptual metaphors through a Vygtoskian (1987) sociocultural lens to provide more insight into what identity roles, participation, and comprehension challenges occur for second language learners, as CMs are often the last part of a new language to be understood (Lantolf & Thorne, 2006; McCafferty, 2008). Studies in this area show promise for how understanding CMs can increase learning gains for students (Boers, 2013) and can be both cross-cultural or languacultural specific (Agar, 1996; Gibbs, 2011; Kovescses, 2003). In this study, elementary English and Spanish teachers were video recorded for natural conversations with DLI students. Language patterns, conversations, and understandings/misunderstandings were analyzed and evaluated through mediated discourse analysis (Scollon & Scollon, 2006). Findings and conclusions demonstrate CM challenges that English and Spanish learners encountered. Results included empowering and disempowering discourse for all students with specific and critical challenges for Latino/a minority students.

Keywords Conceptual Metaphors, Bilingualism, Sociocultural Theory, Inclusion

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[6] Lantolf, J. & Thorne, S. (2006). Sociocultural theory and the genesis of second  language development. Oxford, NY: Oxford University Press.

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