Multilingualism Research Forum/Flerspråklighetsforum: Covid-19 information texts in teaching metaphorical expressions

Oliwia Szymanska (Postdoctoral Fellow, MultiLing) will discuss the acquisition of L2 metaphoric expressions by Polish adult learners of Norwegian.

Please note this is a closed event for MultiLing and ILN members only.

Oliwia Szymanska smiling and wearing a light pink shirt

Oliwia Szymanska


Mastery of L2 metaphorical expressions is a challenging issue that might affect receptive and productive skills by either impairing comprehension or yielding unidiomatic language use. As L1 knowledge is reported to have a substantial impact on whether and how one understands metaphoric expressions in L2, using the L1 knowledge to stimulate learners’ metaphorical awareness seems to be an effective measure. Despite a great body of research on metaphorical expressions in L2, many call for more practical solutions for awakening of metaphoric awareness in the classroom.

The study investigates the acquisition of L2 metaphoric expressions in adult learners during a 90-minutes teaching session. The main research tool comprised two translation tests with metaphoric expressions extracted from information pages on Covid-19 published by Norwegian Institute of Public Health - the original text published in Norwegian, and the Polish translation.

The reasoning behind this choice was to ensure that the participants had come across the expressions in either one or both languages. This was important for the priming effect to occur in the acquisition process. As the study was carried out in autumn 2021 when the pandemic was vividly present in the media and in the public awareness, the probability for this was considered high. The purpose of this talk is to present how such a session can be designed, and what can be achieved by referring to cross-linguistic similarities when working with metaphors.


Oliwia Szymanska is a postdoctoral researcher at Center for Multilingualism in Society across the Lifespan. She has a doctoral degree from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland. Previously, she worked as a senior lecturer in Norwegian as a second language at the University of Oslo. Before moving to Norway she was an assistant professor and leader for Norwegian language studies at University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Warsaw. For many years, she has also taught Norwegian to physicians within specialist healthcare, published teaching materials, and developed a language proficiency test for Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Oliwia investigates different aspects of second language acquisition in Polish speakers of Norwegian deploying conceptual transfer hypothesis. Currently, she focuses mainly on the comprehension and production of L2 metaphorical expressions, and L2 Norwegian in specialist healthcare.
Published Mar. 31, 2022 2:56 PM - Last modified Apr. 11, 2022 11:44 AM