On English Native Speakers’ and Advanced Persian Speaking EFL Learners’ Use of Animal Metaphor in Addressing People


Animal metaphors as a pervasive phenomenon in all languages demonstrate how certain aspects of animals and their instinctual and physical attributes as well as their behavior patterns are mapped onto human beings (Silaski, 2013, p. 323). The present study was an attempt to compare English native speakers with advanced Persian speaking EFL learners in using animal names to address people. In doing so, 30 American native speakers were selected through convenience sampling. In addition, 24 advanced Persian speaking EFL learners were selected through running the Oxford quick placement test and convenience sampling. A questionnaire containing 50 animal names based on the questionnaire used by Halupka-Resetaa and Radics study (2003) and Szamosfalvis study (2011), with some modifications, were given to participants and were asked to choose if they would use a given animal name to refer a male or female, to select if they would use the animal name abusively or affectionately, to give an example of morphosyntactic structure in which they would use the animal name, and to explain a concrete situation in which they would use the animal name. The inferential statistics (Chi-Square test) suggested that there are significant differences , (p < .05), between English native Speakers and advanced Persian speaking EFL learners in using animal names to refer to a single gender or both, in using animal names affectionately or abusively, and in terms of  morphosyntactic structures in which animal names are used. However, it was found that there are no significant differences, (p > .05), between the two groups in using animal names in terms of meaning. The findings of the present study can be of help to teachers and textbooks and syllabus designers in that they can include different types of metaphors including animal metaphors in EFL contexts. Furthermore, translators and error analysts can take advantage of the findings of this study since they are in some way concerned with cultural similarities and differences.

Keywords: EFL Learner., addressing animal metaphors, morphosyntactic structure, terms of abuse, terms of endearment

Article Review Status: Published

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