Identity creation through words: metaphors and figurative language in web-based learning environments

Manuela Delfino, Stefania Manca


The use of figurative language is known to serve many purposes: cognitive, affective, and social. We employ metaphors, metonyms, similes and other figures of speech in interacting with each other all the time, and in doing so we further our communicative goals, facilitate our reasoning, and build a shared representation of the social world. What deserves major attention is the role that metaphors and figurativeĀ  language may play in virtual learning environments based on written discourse. This paper explores the value of written communication enriched with the spontaneous use of figurative language and the activation of spatial metaphors in a web-based learning experience for adult learners. Results show that figurative language is effective in expressing the affective domain and building a common identity, as well as in giving concreteness and familiarity to the immateriality of virtual spaces.

Full Text

PDF (English)