Summer 2023


Capstone Project

Degree Name



Laura Halldin

Content Expert

Andreas Schramm


Research shows that metaphoric competence is necessary for communicative competence and this paper suggests Cognitive Metaphor Theory (CMT) may be useful in teaching metaphoric competence at all levels of English. Even though causality is difficult to establish, research underscores the link between metaphoric competence and overall language proficiency. This, and the pervasiveness of metaphor in everyday and specialized English, strongly suggests a pedagogical shift towards recognizing and engaging deeply with metaphoric language. This means making room for metaphoric competence training in the ESL and legal English classroom. The project models the analyses of two diverse texts: an intermediate-level newspaper article from the Voice of America, and the U.S. Supreme Court Dobbs decision. The analyses illuminate and organize the use of figurative language grounded in metaphor, thereby emphasizing the importance of metaphoric competence for both ESL and legal English students. The first goal of the project is to demonstrate how intermediate ESL students can learn to identify and analyze everyday English for metaphor, through an analysis of a Voice of America news article. The project also uses an adapted version of Smith’s (2007) metaphor levels in legal text framework and applies it to excerpts from the majority opinion in the U.S. Supreme Court Dobbs decision. The second goal of the project is to demonstrate the use of this framework for identifying metaphorically grounded language in legal text. Both of the analyses use authentic sources and require critical thinking as well as develop cultural knowledge. The project advances a holistic language learning approach, emphasizing the importance of metaphoric competence in everyday and specialized English language.

Project Type

Discourse Analysis Project


Adult Education, ESL/ ELLs, International Teaching, Teachers/ Teaching








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