The Effect of Container Metaphor Awareness on Learning Phrasal Verbs by Iranian Intermediate EFL learners

Document Type : Research Paper


PhD Candidate in TEFL, English Department, Chabahar Maritime University, Chabahar, Iran


Learning and comprehending phrasal verbs (PVs) is necessary for English writing and speaking especially for the EFL learners who like to speak like proficient speakers. This study used an experimental design to focus on the effect of ‘container metaphor awareness’, as a recently developed technique with the focus on two particles (out and in), on learning phrasal verbs by Iranian intermediate EFL learners. To this end, two groups of Iranian intermediate EFL learners were selected. They were homogeneous regarding their knowledge of English PVs. A pretest of phrasal verbs containing in and out particles was given to both groups. During a 5-week instruction, the PVs were taught to the control group with the traditional method through definition, examples, and sometimes translation and they were asked to memorize the PVs and their meanings. Meanwhile, PVs were presented to the experimental group by using images within videos prepared by the instructor to make their meanings concrete. After the instructional sessions, a posttest of target PVs was given to the participants of both groups in order to investigate their performance. The obtained results revealed that the experimental group significantly outperformed the control group. The findings of the study showed that teaching PVs based on container metaphor awareness could be more conducive to the learning and retention of PVs than the traditional method. Therefore, the application of container metaphor in teaching PVs can create an innovative method for teaching PVs in EFL contexts and facilitate PVs learning for EFL learners of English.