An Investigation of Metaphoric Cognition of First-Year College Students at Xinxiang Medical University, China

  •  Zhang Ran    
  •  Mogana Dhamotharan    


The “College English Teaching Reform Project”, issued by the Chinese Ministry of Education aims to strengthen the practical English instruction and improve the English language proficiency of the college students (Ministry of Education, 2007). However, the problem of “naturalness” in handling English by the college students still exists due to imbalanced language forms and concepts between their native language (Chinese) and target language (English). Since metaphor was referred to as only a figure of speech and often compared with simile in high schools, many students do not realize that it also can be a powerful cognitive tool. In order to ascertain the students’ metaphor cognition competence in General English and Medical English, a metaphor cognition questionnaire was distributed in a class and the results obtained show that the respondents can readily recognize the existence of metaphors in General English and the teachers’ instruction, and they know the essential function of metaphors. The results further show that many respondents understand metaphors in terms of the context rather than the images. However, only about half of them can effectively use metaphors in their writing and speaking.

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