Shades of Liberalism Over the Shoulders of Iranian Education: A Critical Metaphor Analysis of Iranian EFL Textbooks

Document Type : Research Article


English Department, Najafabad Branch, Islamic Azad University, Najafabad, Iran



The aim of this qualitative study was to analyze the manifestation of conceptual metaphors in the new and old versions of Iranian EFL high school textbooks (Vision series). To this end, in the light of critical metaphor analysis (CMA) as the theoretical framework, 74 excerpts from the EFL textbooks taught in the Iranian high schools were analyzed in 3 stages: description, interpretation and explanation.  In the description stage, all the metaphors existing in the excerpts were identified and analyzed descriptively with details to show their metaphoricity. In the interpretation stage, these metaphors were checked to clarify whether or not they were conceptual metaphors. The third explanation stage explicated how the authors of the textbooks had exposed the students and teachers to the Iranian government policymakers’ ideological discourses through conceptual metaphors. Analysis of the data in the 3 stages showed that reification and personification were the most prominent linguistic tools in the old and new versions of EFL textbooks, respectively. Also, the discourse of the old version of the EFL textbooks was mainly affected by modernism, whereas that of the new version was extremely influenced by postmodernism orientations. These results have a number of implications for researchers and those interested in teaching English as a foreign language. Findings of the present study can open new windows to Iranian EFL teachers to be aware of the contents that ought to be taught.