Metaphorical Perceptions of Turkish EFL Students about Themselves: The Sample of Kafkas University

  • Gencer ELKILIC Kafkas University, faculty of Science and Letters, Department of English language and Literature, Kars, Turkey
Keywords: Metaphor, conceptual category, EFL students, Kafkas University


The aim of this study was to determine the metaphorical perceptions of Turkish EFL students about themselves  and to group them according to common features.  In order to collect data qualitative data collection technique was used. To this end, forms containing prompts “students are   like.................., because they..........” were given to the participants and requested to fill in them. As a result of the data collected from 160 students, 153 valid metaphors were determined  and they were divided into seven conceptual categories  as: 1) Student as Something/Somebody to be Given  a Shape , 2) Student as a Plant/Tree , 3) Student as Somebody/Something Obedient, 4) Student as an Animal, 5) Students as Something/Somebody to be Fixed/Cured, 6) Student as Something Bright, and finally, 7) Student as Somebody/Something Pure/Good or Somebody/Something Bad/Deceiving. Most frequently repeated metaphors were as baby/child (f=15, 12, 0%), empty box/page(f=9,  07, 2 %), soil/garden (f=8, 06,4 %), flower (f=8, 06,4 %), laborer (f=7, 05,6%), sapling (f=6, 04,8 %), patient (f=6, 04,8 %), angel (f=6, 04,8 %), sheep (f=5, 04,0 %) seed (f=5, 04,0 %), tree (f=5, 04,0 %), and innocent person (f=5, 04,0 %), respectively.


[1] Shuell TJ. Teaching and learning as problem solving. Theory into Practice Internet 1990 cited 2017 Apr 13; 29 (2): 102-108.
Available from:
[2] Lakoff G, Johnson M. Metaphors we live by. 2nd edition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press; 2003. 278 p.
[3] Ellis R. The metaphorical constructions of second language learners. In: M. Breen, editor. Learner contributions to language learning: New directions in research. 1st edition. UK: Pearson Education; 2001. 65-85 p.
[4] Steen G. Understanding metaphor in literature. London: Longman; 1994. 263 p.
[5] Oxford Advanced learners’ Dictionary. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2009.
[6] Oxford R, Tomlinson S, Barcelos A, Harrington C, Lavine RZ, Saleh A. Clashing metaphors about classroom teachers: Toward a systematic typology for the language teaching field. SystemInternet. 1998cited 2017 Apr 15; 26(1): 3–50. Available from: /article/ pii/ S0346251X97000717
[7] Çelikten M. Culture and Teacher Metaphors Used in Educatıonal System. Erciyes University. Journal of the Institute of Social Sciences Internet. 2006 cited 2017Apr 13; 21(2): 269-283. Available from: http://
[8] Martínez MA, Sauleda N, Huber GL. Metaphors as blueprints of thinking about teaching and learning. Teaching and Teacher Education Internet. 2001 cited 2017 Mar 18; 17: 956-977. Available from: https://norbal.
[9] Kittay EF. Metaphor: its Cognitive Force and Linguistic Structure. Oxford: Clarendon; 1987. 346 p.
[10] Gillis C, Johnson CL. Metaphor as renewal: re-imagining our professional, selves. The English Journal Internet 2002 cited 2017 Mar 13; 91(6): 37-43. Available from: DOI: 10.2307/821814
[11] Şimşek MR. A Metaphor Analysis Of English Teacher Candidates’ Pre- And Post-Course Beliefs About Language And Teaching. Journal of Dicle University, Faculty of Education Internet. 2014 cited 2017 Mar 18; 22: 230-247. Available from: 340021529_ 22_15_Simsek.pdf
[12] Cortazzi M, Jin L. Bridges to learning: Metaphors of teaching, learning and language. In: L. Cameron, G. Low, editors. Researching and applying metaphor. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 1999. 149-176 p.
[13] De Guerrero MCM, Villamil OS. Metaphorical conceptualizations of ESL teaching and learning. Language Teaching Research Internet. 2002 cited 2017 Jan 19; 6: 95-120. Available from:
[14] Saban A. Prospective classroom teachers’ metaphorical images of selves and comparing them to those they have of their elementary and cooperating teachers. International Journal of Educational Development Internet. 2004 Nov cited 2017 Feb12; 24 (6): 617-635. Available from: tid=b33814e4-6d42-11e7-a88c-00000aacb360&acdnat=1500552070_ d6cd9454c77407f4ca06188353eacb64 Doi:10.1016/j.ijedudev.2004.03.003
[15] Cerit Y. School Metaphors: The Views of Students, Teachers and Administrators. Educational Sciences: Theory &Practice Internet. 2006 Sept cited 2017 Feb 12; 6(3): 669-699. Available from: pdf/en/83467d05ae7174fd5401b4446843810eiteng.pdf
[16] Farrell TSC. “The teacher is an octopus”: Uncovering preservice English language teachers’ prior beliefs through metaphor analysis. RELC Journal Internet. 2006 cited 2017 Mar 14; 37(2): 236-248.
Available from: DOI: 10.1177/0033688206067430
[17] Saban A. Metaphors about School. Educational Administration: Theory and Practice. Internet. 2008 Summer cited 2017 Feb 12; 55: 459-496. Available from: https://www.
[18] Saban A. Prospective teachers’ metaphorical conceptualizations of learner. Teaching and Teacher Education Internet. 2010 Feb cited 2017 Mar 13; 26(2): 290–305. Available from:
[19] Bülbül T, Toker-Gökçe A. Metaphorical School Perceptions of Vocational Secondary School Students: A Functionalist Approach. KEFAD Internet. 2015 cited 2017 Apr 12; 16(2): 273-29. Available from: http://akademikpersonel. 03.09. 2015_15.32.26diger.pdf
[20] Dervent F. An Examination of Conceptualization of Sport Metaphors. Jets Internet. 2016 Mar cited 2017 Apr 12; 4(4): 259-268. Available from:
[21] Elkılıç G, Bayrakcı K.. Metaphorical Perceptions of the Students in the Department of Translation and Interpretation in Relation to their English and French Language Instructors at Kafkas University. IJHSSI Internet. 2016 Nov cited 2017 Mar; 5(11), 60-66. Available from:
[22] Dinçer A. EFL Learners' Beliefs about Speaking English and Being a Good Speaker: A Metaphor Analysis. UJER Internet. 2017 cited 2017 Feb 12; 5(1): 104-112. Available from: DOI: 10.13189/ujer.2017.050113
[23] Miles MB, Huberman AM. Qualitative Data Analysis: An Expanded Sourcebook. 2nd edition. California: Sage; 1994. 338 p.
[24] Bozlk, M. The college student as learner: Insight gained through metaphor analysis. College Student Journal Internet. 2002 Cited 2017 Mar 20; 36 (1): 142-151. Available from: http://eds. detail?vid= 0&sid=b5907523-030d-4188-b101-e6a2605b1a5c%40 sessionmgr120&bdata= Jmxhbmc9dHImc2l0ZT1lZHMtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#AN=6539437&db=a9h
How to Cite
ELKILIC, G. (2017). Metaphorical Perceptions of Turkish EFL Students about Themselves: The Sample of Kafkas University. LUMEN Proceedings, 1, 230-242.