The Effect of Types of Dictionary Presentation on the Retention of Metaphorical Collocations: Involvement Load Hypothesis vs. Cognitive Load Theory

Yuanjun Dai, Zhiwei Wu, Hai Xu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Although conceptual metaphor boxes were introduced in Macmillan English Dictionary over a decade ago, the effect of this innovative presentation on the retention of metaphorical collocations remains unclear. To fill this gap, this paper reports on a study involving 70 Chinese EFL learners, who were randomly assigned into three groups. They were exposed to three types of collocation presentation, varying in terms of availability and salience of conceptual metaphor information. The results show that the learners who were exposed to the accessible and salient presentation of metaphor information had the best retention of metaphorical collocations and the shortest lookup time. Two competing theoretical accounts, Involvement Load Hypothesis (ILH) and Cognitive Load Theory (CLT), were compared. It was found that CLT had greater explanatory power in predicting the research results, accounting for why conceptually grouping collocations facilitated the retention of metaphorical collocations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-431
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Lexicography
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


  • cognitive load theory
  • dictionary presentation
  • involvement load hypothesis
  • metaphorical collocation
  • retention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics

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