Dongman Cai

Dongman Cai



Before I came to the University of Leeds for my Ph.D. study, I finished my Master's Degree in the field of Business English at Guangdong University of Foreign Studies. During my postgraduate study, I also had some part-time jobs as a language teacher at the University.

What motivated me to undertake Ph.D. study?

I am curious to solve problems in language education and my enthusiasm to work on teaching and researching urges me to undertake Ph.D. study.

What makes me passionate about my subject?

I was positively impressed by my previous experience as a part-time language teacher at the University. I believe that many students not learning a second language well is not because they are not intelligent enough but because of the following reasons such as:

1) they are not interested in it

2) they have low academic self-efficacy

3) their learning needs and difficulties are not perceived by their teachers

4) their learning schema doesn’t match their learning capacity

Besides, in ESP teaching, metaphor is really a hard nut to crack for students. For instance, economic journalism in which metaphor is ubiquitous does not only serve the purpose of informing about ongoing economic processes but also that of selling a particular worldview. That is to say, once we can have a better understanding of metaphors in economic discourse of intercultural context, it would be much easier for students to learn well. This is my motivation for choosing this study area.

What are my plans once I have completed my Ph.D.?

Once I have completed my Ph.D., I plan to go back to my country to be a language teacher and researcher in the institution of Higher Education. 

Research interests

Submission Date: September 2020

My research interest lies in metaphor in popular economic discourse from a corpus-linguistic approach. Metaphor is ubiquitous in economic journalism. It can be used as a framing device to construct and evaluate. My project focuses on a comparative analysis of the use and framing implications of metaphor in three self-built popular economic discourse corpora (1.3 million words in total) that are collected in the context of Sino-EU/US trade disputes. Three corpora are all written in English but by journalists from three different economic and cultural settings--China, UK and US.  In my study, I focus on identifying both metaphors co-occurring with the topic of protectionism/protectionist and free trade, and metaphors describing central economic/trade topics within pre-defined semantic fields which were identified with the help of Wmatrix (Rayson, 2008). The research significances of this project are 1) Methodologically, it provides a standardized approach to metaphor identification in English popular economic discourse; 2) Theoretically, it designs an analytical model of discourse-based multi-level analysis on metaphors and framing, which can effectively guide the study of metaphorical framing in economic discourse. This analytical model can also be applied to the study of metaphors and framing in other genres (e.g., political discourse). This project implies the way metaphor used to frame central economic/trade topics and unveils different discourse communities’ stances towards the same topic. It also provides pedagogical implications in ESP teaching by providing guidance for understanding, using, and creating metaphors in English as a foreign language.