The purpose of this study is to explore the use of equivalent conceptual metaphors and the correspondent linguistic expressions in refugee students’ L1s and L2s and examine the possible positive effects conceptual metaphors can induce for vocabulary learning and retention in second language learning. Moreover, another aim of the research is to investigate the use of conceptual metaphors as a cross-cultural awareness tool for the case of refugee students and how this may reveal specific aspects of their plurilingual repertoires. The research took place in a non-formal educational center in Kos island, where refugee students attend language courses. The participants of the research were ten refugee students, aged 11–17, who learn English and Greek as L2s. The tools used to collect data were a personal data questionnaire, a metaphor awareness test, a pre-test and post-test before and after the language intervention and a discussion group. The results of the study demonstrate that refugee students are assisted by the existence of equivalent metaphors between their L1 and L2. Furthermore, the use of all languages of the participants promotes cross-cultural awareness and plurilingualism, as similarities not only between languages but also between cultures are found through the existence of equivalent conceptual metaphors.

DOI: 10.1080/13670050.2021.1982859
ISSN: 13670050