Visual Metaphor in Early Second Language Education


  • Milena Levunlieva South-West University “Neofit Rilski”, Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria



knowledge enablement, visual metaphor, visual literacy, visual layout, stress-free environment


The paper adapts the theory of knowledge enablement in knowledge-sharing companies to the needs of the second-language classroom to explicate the association between pedagogical interaction and the effectiveness of the teaching process. The goal of the inquiry is to alert language teachers to the hidden opportunities visualization and layout suggest in designing a stress-free educational environment conducive to amplifying language knowledge and skills in a context stimulating knowledge enablement. Visualization is explored at two levels: 1) the level of text layout and illustrations; and 2) the level of visual images and visual metaphors. The method of structural and functional modelling is used to present the layout of exercises and language content and the visual metaphor identification method is employed in the analysis of visual images. A conclusion is asserted of the instrumental role of visuals in English coursebooks for young learners as a medium of visual literacy and as a factor in streamlining the development of productive second language skills. This claim is substantiated by a case study that 1) demonstrates the contextualizing function of images and visual metaphors in English language coursebooks for young learners; and 2) explores the means, instruments and ways of visualizing the instructional content of two TEYL coursebooks published in 2014 and 2015.

Author Biography

Milena Levunlieva, South-West University “Neofit Rilski”, Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria

Milena Levunlieva is an associate professor of Education science at South-West University “Neofit Rilski”. Her areas of research include TEFL, vocabulary acquisition, cognitive-linguistics informed methods of teaching L2, visual and conceptual metaphor studies. She teaches Psycholinguistics, Morphosyntax, English for general and specific purposes. Her monograph Abstract vocabulary acquisition in TEYL explores instruments for transforming core vocabulary knowledge into knowledge of abstract content through visualization and metaphor.


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How to Cite

Levunlieva, M. (2023). Visual Metaphor in Early Second Language Education. English Studies at NBU, 9(1), 5–20.