Non-native students in departments English literature around the world face the challenge of developing the knowledge and skills necessary to make sense of literary texts, texts which often stretch the resources of the language to the limit to convey a particular poetic vision. Some students are linguistically well-equipped to meet this challenge when they arrive at university, but others, including many such students in Japan, are not. One way or another, these students have to develop communicative and literary competence simultaneously in the course of their student careers. Developing appropriate EFL courses for students like this is a daunting task, and teachers are hampered by the fact that there is little research to guide them. Of course, there is a substantial body of publications on the role of literature in language teaching, but very little empirical work exists. Empirical studies on the development of aspects of literary competence appear regularly in journals such as Poetics, but most of this work is not primarily concerned with the particular problems of NNS students. 1 The present study aims to contribute to an understanding of these problems by looking at how entry-level Japanese students of English literature process creative metaphor in literary texts. Metaphor was an obvious choice for
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