EFL Students’ Use of the Verb ‘See’: A Conceptual Metaphor Analysis


This study investigated Indonesian EFL university students’ use of conceptual metaphor with the English perception verb ‘see’. The idea of a conceptual metaphor refers to how people understand someone's idea represented by linguistics elements. The use of perception verbs in everyday life combined with other words that do not correlate with the five senses can inform readers of the state of language use in certain contexts. The methods employed in this research were descriptive and qualitative. The data were collected from the essays of Indonesian EFL university students (n = 27 students and 390 essays) and were processed and analyzed using AntFileConverter and AntConc concordance software. The researchers classified the perception verb ‘see’ based on its form, structure and meaning, and analyzed the conceptual metaphors. Five concepts of metaphors were found for the English perception verb ‘see’, including impression, fantasy, understanding, assumption, and prediction. 

Keywords: conceptual metaphors, source domain, target domain, English perception verb, verb ‘see’ 

[1] Lakoff G, Johnson M. Metaphor we live by. London: The university of Chicago Press; 1980.

[2] Sweetser E. From etymology to pragmatics: Metaphorical and cultural aspects of semantic structure. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 1990.

[3] Ibarretxe-Antuñano I. Polysemy and metaphor in perception verbs: A cross-linguistic study [Unpublished doctoral dissertation]. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh; 1999.

[4] Speed LJ, O’Meara C, Roque LS, Majid A. Perception metaphors. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company; 2019.

[5] Kovecses Z. Metaphor: A practical introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2002.

[6] Viberg A. A universal lexicalization hierarchy for the verbs of perception. Karlson F, editor. Helsinki: University of Helsinki; 1983.

[7] Viberg A. Explanations for language universals. Butterworth B, Comrie B, Dahl O, editors. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter; 1984.

[8] Gisborne NS. English perception verbs [Unpublished doctoral dissertation]. London: University College London; 1996.

[9] Ibarretxe-Antuñano I. Mind-as-body as a cross-linguistic conceptual metaphor. Miscelánea J Engl Am Stud. 2002;25(1):93–119.

[10] Ibarretxe-Antuñano I. Rosario C, Vera JED, editors. Sensuous cognition: Explorations into human sentience - Imagination, (e)motion and perception. De Gruyter Mouton; 2013. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110300772

[11] Sekuler R, Blake R. Perception. New York: McGraw-Hill; 1994.

[12] Evans V, Green M. Cognitive linguistics: An introduction. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum; 2006.

[13] Citraresmana E. Metafora orientasional kata break bahasa inggris: Satu ancangan semantik kognitif. 2010.

[14] Gunnarsdóttir ÁB. Conceptual metaphors in perception verbs: A comparative analysis in English and Icelandic [B.A. Thesis]. University of Iceland; 2013.

[15] Juanhong L. The touch metaphors: A cognitive and corpus-based study. Polyglossia. 2012;22:47–57.

[16] Jumaah RT, Rashid SM, Jabar MABA, Ali AM. The English verb see in fiction writing: A cognitive semantic analysis. Arab World Engl J. 2020;11(3):515–36.

[17] Deignan A. Metaphorical polysemy and paradigmatic relations: A corpus study. Word. 1999;50(3):319–38.

[18] Nasihah D. Metafora konseptual verba persepsi bahasa inggris: Kajian semantik kognitif [Unpublished dissertation]. Bandung: Universitas Padjajaran; 2017.

[19] Pinker S. The language instinct. New York: William Morrow and Company; 1994.