Metaphorical Competence: A Neglected Component of Communicative Competence

Masoud Khalili Sabet, Marjaneh Tavakoli


The ability to comprehend and use metaphors in L2 which is referred to as metaphorical competence is an important issue in second language acquisition. Metaphors are so pervasive in our life that we might not realize their presence and simply neglect them even in our first language. Different models of communicative competence have been suggested in the literature; however, the model of Bachman and Palmer (1996) is the one considered in the present study. It includes two major nodes of organizational and pragmatic competences. Under the organizational competence are grammatical and textual competences, and pragmatic competence includes illocutionary and sociolinguistic competences. In this paper it is argued that among the many competences required to be considered proficient in a language, metaphorical competence is also central. As such, after illuminating the concept of metaphor and metaphorical competence, some models of communicative competence (CC) are presented. Moreover, in line with Littlemore and Low (2006), it is emphasized that metaphorical competence which is present in most of the components of CC should receive more attention in L2 classrooms. In fact, it is concluded that having an acceptable metaphorical competence contributes to the learners’ overall communicative competence.

Keywords: Metaphor, Metaphorical competence, Communicative competence, L2

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