First Advisor

Jeanette S. DeCarrico

Term of Graduation

Summer 1994

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages


Applied Linguistics




Metaphor, Engineering -- Textbooks



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, iv, 131 pages)


The aim of this study is to identify the use of metaphor in university-level introductory engineering textbooks. Engineering is an important field of study for foreign students in the United States. In order to determine the linguistic and cultural problems foreign students of this field may have, two introductory engineering textbooks are examined for occurrences of metaphors.

Two corpora of 20,000 words each drawn from introductory textbooks used at two four-year, public universities are examined for occurrences of metaphor. A combined semantic and pragmatic test for metaphor is applied to each word used in the corpora to determine if the use is metaphoric. Each word used metaphorically is given a typesto- tokens ratio to determine if it is used only once or many times. The words used metaphorically are grouped according to metaphor themes and source domains for classroom use.

The types-to-tokens ratios show that many words in the corpora are used only once. Some words, however, are used many times in both corpora. These words include many of the prepositions and words from particularly prevalent metaphor themes and source domains. The results suggest that some concepts such as process, discipline, and time are metaphorically described in English. Knowledge that concepts are metaphorically described is an important explanatory tool for the teacher of English to speakers of other languages.


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