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Figurative Language & English Language Learners

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Danielle Gross

on 30 May 2016

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Transcript of Figurative Language & English Language Learners

Nature of Figurative Language Instruction
Cultural differences affect understanding of figurative language, as they do not have a literal translation. ELL's L1 has a deep impact on figurative understandings. Metacognition helps students to understand when they encounter figurative phrases. Strategies:
Modeling & think-aloud
Activating prior knowledge
Make real-world connections
Provide meaningful reading experiences in context
Figurative Language & English Language Learners
ELL's who are unable to differentiate figurative from literal language struggle with language comprehension. Students who understand the dictionary definition of a word may think that they understand a figurative phrase, yet are unable to comprehend the intended meaning. Figurative language instruction is necessary for students to gain a deeper understanding on identifying and determining meaning in these phrases, furthering their comprehension of oral and written language.
A students ability to understand figurative language depends on exposure and experience. Transferring figurative language into students native language may result in further confusion.
Strategies for teaching:
Identify figurative language in text
Try its literal meaning
Find intended meaning
Figurative Language & English Language Learners
Danielle Gross, Mike Brown, & John Conway
Brooks, M.A. & Palmer, B.C. (2004). Reading Until the Cows Come Home: Figurative Language and Reading Comprehension. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, Vol. 47, No. 5, pg. 370-379.
Carmel, H.L.H. & Kathpalia, S.S. (2011). Metaphorical Competence in ESL Student Writing. RELC Journal, Volume 42: pgs. 273-288.
Grant, L. E. (2006). In a manner of speaking: Assessing frequent spoken figurative idioms to assist ESL/EFL teachers. Science Direct, 35(2007), 169-181.
Palmer, B. C., Shackelford, V. S., Miller, S. C., & Leclere, J. T. (2006). Bridging two worlds: Reading comprehension, figurative language instruction, and the English-language learner. International Reading Association, 50(4), 258-267.
Palmer, B. C., Bilgili, E. M., Gungor, A., Taylor, S. H., & Leclere, J. T. (2008). Reading comprehension, figurative language instruction, and the turkish english language learner. Reading Horizons, 48(4), 261-282. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/236495546?accountid=14270
Inability to understand figurative language causes difficulty with comprehension and leads to frustration which can delay language learning. In order to understand these phrases, students must: learn cultural values, know the different forms of figurative language, and understand the context of use.
Encourage use of figurative expression in L1
Discuss why and when it is used
Model determining meaning through context clues
Use scaffolding to help with identification
Provide lots of examples and model
Palmer, Shackelford, Miller, & Leclare (2006)
Grant (2006)
Brooks & Palmer (2004)
Instruction focuses on grammar rather than metaphorical language to improve acquisition. Figurative language used in writing by ELLs are not idioms and occur in clusters.
Figurative language includes all words and phrases that differ from their intended meaning. They include: similes, metaphors, personification, idioms, cliches, hyperbole, oxymoron, allusion, and puns.
Carmel, H.L.H. & Kathpalia, S.S. (2011)
Palmer, Bilgili, Gungor, & Taylor (2008)
Teaching Activity
This activity is designed to engage with the multiple meanings of language that English Language Learners struggle with. Implementing the strategies from research articles, we will focus on identifying and interpreting instances of figurative language.
Figurative language presents a new challenge for English Language Learners. It requires knowledge of culture and L1 understandings can cause confusion. It has becomes a normal aspect of written and spoken language that must be addressed in order to help ELL's identify and understand how it is used.
Spoken Language
Figurative language may be used in the classroom without even knowing it.
Teachers should gradually introduce figurative language into teaching, starting with easier and more obvious examples.
Strategy for students:
Recognize the “untruth” in the figurative language
Reinterpret to find intended truth
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