Revisiting Common Source and Target Domains in Conceptual Metaphors in a Sample of English Fiction: Implications for Literacy Practices and Advanced EFL Pedagogy

Nasim Layegh, Yaser Hadidi, Mohammad Zohrabi


Metaphor research has always been conducted with various purposes in mind, among which the diachronic analysis of metaphor variation in discourse is outstanding. The current work followed a qualitative research mould to analyze the use of conceptual metaphors within the two novels Persuasion and The Fault in Our Stars, belonging to 19th and 21st centuries, respectively. To this end, a framework of common source and target domains proposed by Zoltán Kövecses was adopted. The analysis was conducted using the Metaphor Identification Procedure, a reliable method for marking metaphorically used words (Pragglejaz Group, 2007). The majority of the identified source and target domains in the two samples were identical, supporting the common domains in the framework, although some novel domains were also identified. With the support found for these common source and target domains and their being expected to repeat prominently in different advanced literary and semi-literary genres, the present analysis resonates with important implications for upper-intermediate and advanced EFL pedagogy, as well as teachers and syllabus designers, when literature-text, as part and parcel of the upper-intermediate EFL context, is introduced to the classroom.


Metaphor, Fiction, Diachronic Variation, Source Domain, Target Domain, EFL Pedagogy

Full Text:



Andreev, V., & Fomicheva, Z. (2016). Metaphorical modeling in fictional prose as a reflection of its thematic focus. Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, 7(3), 263-267.

Austen, J. (1818). Persuasion [pdf]. Retrieved from

Boers, F. (2000a). Enhancing metaphoric awareness in specialised reading. English for Specific Purposes, 19(2), 137-147.

Boers, F. (2000b). Metaphor awareness and vocabulary retention. Applied Linguistics, 21(4), 553-571.

Boers, F. (1999). When a bodily source domain becomes prominent: The joy of counting metaphors in the socio-economic domain. In R. W. Gibbs & G. J. Steen (Eds.), Metaphor in cognitive linguistics (pp. 47-56). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Cameron, L. (2008). Metaphor and talk. The Cambridge handbook of metaphor and thought, 197, 211.

Cameron, L. (2003). Metaphor in educational discourse. London: Continuum.

Christison, M.A. (2003) Learning styles and strategies. In D. Nunan (ed.) Practical English Language Teaching. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Dorst, A.G. (2011). Metaphor in fiction: Language, thought and communication. Oisterwijk: Uitgeverij BOXPress.

Deignan, A., Gabrys, D., & Solska, A. (1997). Teaching English metaphors using cross-linguistic awareness-raising activities. ELT Journal, 51(4), 352-360.

Gentner, D., & Grudin, J. (1985). The evolution of mental metaphors in psychology: A 90-year retrospective. American Psychologist, 40(2), 181-192.

Gibbs, R. W., Jr. (2017). Metaphor Wars. In Metaphor Wars: Conceptual Metaphors in Human Life. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Gibbs, R. W., Jr. (2006). Embodiment and cognitive science. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Goatly, A. (2002). Text-linguistic comments on metaphor identification. Language and Literature, 11(1), 70-74.

Green, J. (2012). The fault in our stars [pdf]. New York: Penguin Group. Retrieved from

Hampe, B. (2005). Image schemas in cognitive linguistics: Introduction. In B. Hampe (Ed.), From perception to meaning: Image schemas in cognitive linguistics (pp. 1-12). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Izdebska, D. W. (2015). Semantic field of ANGER in Old English. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Jamrozik, A., McQuire, M., Cardillo, E. R., & Chatterjee, A. (2016). Metaphor: Bridging embodiment to abstraction. Psychonomic bulletin & review, 23(4), 1080-1089.

Johannessen, H. K. (2014). Humanity is a pack of cards: A study on the use and translation of creative metaphorical expressions in the language pair Norwegian Bokmål and American English (Master’s thesis, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway). Retrieved from

Knowles, M., & Moon, R. (2006). Introducing metaphor. New York: Routledge.

Kövecses, Z. (2019). Metaphor, Culture, and Embodiment. In Ten Lectures on Figurative Meaning-Making: The Role of Body and Context (pp. 29-41). Leiden: Brill.

Kövecses, Z. (2017). Conceptual metaphor theory. In E. Semino & Z. Demjén (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of metaphor and language (pp. 13-42). London: Routledge.

Kövecses, Z. (2015). Where metaphors come from: Reconsidering context in metaphor. USA: Oxford University Press.

Kövecses, Z. (2014). The metaphorical conceptual system in context. In K. Burridge & R. Benczes (Eds.), Wrestling with words and meanings: Essays in honour of Keith Allan (pp. 141-158). Clayton, Victoria, Australia: Monash University Publishing.

Kövecses, Z. (2010a). Metaphor: A practical introduction. New York: Oxford University Press.

Kövecses, Z. (2010b). A new look at metaphorical creativity in cognitive linguistics. Cognitive Linguistics, 21(4), 655-689.

Kövecses, Z. (2006). Embodiment, experiential focus, and diachronic change in metaphor. In R. W. McConchie et al. (Eds.), Selected Proceedings of the 2005 Symposium on New Approaches in English Historical Lexis (HEL-LEX) (1-7). Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project.

Kövecses, Z. (2005). Metaphor in culture: Universality and variation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kövecses, Z. (2000). Metaphor and emotion: Language, culture, and body in human feeling. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kövecses, Z. (1995). The “Container” metaphor of anger in English, Chinese, Japanese and Hungarian. In Z. Radman (Ed.), From a metaphorical point of view: A multidisciplinary approach to the cognitive content of metaphor (pp. 117-145). Berlin, Germany: Walter de Gruyter.

Kövecses, Z. (1990). Emotion concepts. New York: Springer-Verlag.

Lakoff, G., Espenson, J., & Goldberg, A. (1989). Master metaphor list. Compilation. University of California, Berkeley.

Lakoff, G., Espenson, J., & Schwartz, A. (1991). Master metaphor list. Second draft copy. University of California, Berkeley.

Lakoff, G., & Johnson, M. (2003). Metaphors we live by. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Lakoff, G., & Johnson, M. (1980). Metaphors we live by. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Mischler, J. (2013). Metaphor across time and conceptual space. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Moder, C. L. (2008). It’s like making a soup: Metaphors and similes in spoken news discourse. Language in the context of use: Discourse and cognitive approaches to language, 301-320.

Musolff, A. (2017). Metaphor and cultural cognition. In advances in cultural linguistics (pp. 325-344). Singapore: Springer.

Musolff, A. (2009). Metaphor in the history of ideas and discourses: How can we interpret a medieval version of the Body−State analogy? In A. Musolff & J. Zinken (Eds.), Metaphor and discourse (pp. 233-247). Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

Musolff, A., & Zinken, J. (Eds.). (2009). Metaphor and discourse (pp. 233-247). Basingstoke/New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Nabeshima, K. J. (2017). Domains in cognitive metaphor theory and metaphor processing. International Journal of Computational Linguistics Research, 8(3), 123-131.

Pearson, P. D., Raphael, T. E., TePaske, N., & Hyser, C. (1981). The function of metaphor in children’s recall of expository passages. Journal of Reading Behavior, 13(3), 249-261.

Philip, G. (2006). Metaphor, the dictionary, and the advanced learner. In E. Corino et al. (Eds.), Proceedings of EURALEX XII international lexicography congress, (pp. 895-905). Alessandria: Edizioni dell’Orso.

Picken, J. (2007). Literature, metaphor and the foreign language learner. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Pragglejaz Group, (2007). MIP: A method for identifying metaphorically used words in discourse. Metaphor and Symbol, 22(1), 1-39.

Reddy, M. J. (1993).The conduit metaphor: A case of frame conflict in our language about language. In A. Ortony (Ed.), Metaphor and thought (pp. 164-201). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Seitz, J. E. (1999). Motives for metaphor: Literacy, curriculum reform, and the teaching of English. Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh Press.

Shakespeare, W. (2011). As you like it. Werstine, P., & Mowat, B. (Eds.). New York: Simon & Schuster.

Steen, G. J. (2007). Finding metaphor in grammar and usage: A methodological analysis of theory and research. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Steen, G. J., Dorst, A. G., Herrmann, J. B., Kaal, A. A., Krennmayr, T., & Pasma, T. (2010). A method for linguistic metaphor identification: From MIP to MIPVU. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Sticht, T. G. (1993). Educational uses of metaphor. In A. Ortony (Ed.), Metaphor and thought (pp. 621-632). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Tendahl, M. (2009). The Hybrid Theory of Metaphor. In A Hybrid Theory of Metaphor (pp. 192-247). London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Thibodeau, P. H., Hendricks, R. K., & Boroditsky, L. (2017). How linguistic metaphor scaffolds reasoning. Trends in cognitive sciences, 21(11), 852-863.

Trim, R. (2011). Metaphor and the historical evolution of conceptual mapping. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Weisberg, L. F. (2012). More than words: Metaphor in the mind, brain, and literature (Doctoral dissertation, Brown University). Retrieved form

Wong, L. L., & Nunan, D. (2011). The learning styles and strategies of effective language learners. System, 39(2), 144-163.

Yamina, A. (2016). Analysis of metaphor in Charles Dickens’ Hard Time (Doctoral dissertation, University of Ouargla). Retrieved from

Zanotto, M. S., Cameron, L., & Cavalcanti, M. C. (Eds.). (2008). Confronting metaphor in use: An applied linguistic approach (Vol. 173). Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2013-2023 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD.

International Journal of Education and Literacy Studies  

You may require to add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list’ If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox'. Otherwise, you may check your 'Spam mail' or 'junk mail' folders.