Mind, Language and Experience: Improving the Understanding of Figurative Language in EFL

  • Tomasz Piotr Krawczyk
Part of the Second Language Learning and Teaching book series (SLLT)


The aim of the present chapter is to present a working technique for improving the metaphorical understanding of EFL learners. The main technique recommended in this chapter is particularisation, which is based on four strands of thought: the role of intentions in the meaning of language; theory of mind; the theory of the social ontogeny of predication; and embodied experience as a basis for the meaning of language. The principle of the particularisation technique has been defined as a presentation of a particularised focus, an imaginary character who is consistently presented to a learner through descriptions of his/her mental states, and with whom a learner can engage in an interaction through the means of narratives. The assumption is that through such interactions learners will be able to perceive the intentions of the speaker/writer better and as a result their comprehension of non-literal language will improve. A particularised focus is meant to become for the learners a link between the language and the user. Its explicitly presented mind can help EFL learners to view a foreign language not just from the perspective of a purely structural entity, but as a tool for expressing one’s own mind. Non-literal language is a particular example of discourse that depends on intentions, the assumption being that the technique strongly affects learners’ comprehension of metaphors, metonymy, similes, jokes, and irony.


Theory of mind Figurative language EFL Intentions Non-literal language Intentionality 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pedagogical University of CracowCracowPoland

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