1887
Volume 39, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0929-7332
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9919
USD
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes

Abstract

Abstract

How do people understand figurative speech in a foreign language? What strategies do they use? By means of an online questionnaire, this study investigated to what extent contextual information and transfer play a role in the interpretation of idioms in a second language, controlling for familiarity. Sixty-one native speakers of Dutch were asked to guess the correct interpretation of English idioms with and without a Dutch equivalent, presented with and without context, out of four answer options. The results showed that correctly interpreting an idiom depends on both the presence of context and the possibility of transfer. More correct interpretations were given when an idiom was presented in a context, but only for English idioms without an equivalent in the native language. English idioms with an equivalent in Dutch, often rated as familiar, were mostly understood correctly. We interpret this result as the involvement of transfer from the native language.

Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/journals/10.1075/avt.00061.dij
2022-11-04
2022-11-30
Loading full text...

Full text loading...

References

  1. Abel, Beate
    2003 “English Idioms in the First Language and Second Language Lexicon: a Dual Representation Approach”. Second Language Research19 (4): 329–358. 10.1191/0267658303sr226oa
    https://doi.org/10.1191/0267658303sr226oa [Google Scholar]
  2. Boers, Frank & Murielle Demecheleer
    2001 “Measuring the impact of cross-cultural differences on learners’ comprehension of imageable idioms”. ELT Journal55 (3): 255–262. 10.1093/elt/55.3.255
    https://doi.org/10.1093/elt/55.3.255 [Google Scholar]
  3. Bulut, Türkay & İlkay Celik-Yazici
    2004 “Idiom Processing in L2: Through Rose-Colored Glasses”. The Reading Matrix4 (2): 105–116.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Charteris-Black, Jonathan & Timothy Ennis
    2001 “A comparative study of metaphor in Spanish and English financial reporting”. English for Specific Purposes20 (3): 249–266. 10.1016/S0889‑4906(00)00009‑0
    https://doi.org/10.1016/S0889-4906(00)00009-0 [Google Scholar]
  5. Cooper, Thomas C.
    1998 “Teaching Idioms”. Foreign Language Annals31 (2): 255–266. 10.1111/j.1944‑9720.1998.tb00572.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1944-9720.1998.tb00572.x [Google Scholar]
  6. 1999 “Processing of Idioms by L2 Learners of English”. TESOL Quarterly33 (2): 233–262. 10.2307/3587719
    https://doi.org/10.2307/3587719 [Google Scholar]
  7. Forrester, Michael A.
    1995 “Tropic Implicature and Context in the Comprehension of Idiomatic Phrases”. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research24 (1): 1–22. 10.1007/BF02146097
    https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02146097 [Google Scholar]
  8. Glucksberg, Sam
    2001Understanding Figurative Language: From Metaphors to Idioms. New York: Oxford University Press. 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195111095.001.0001
    https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195111095.001.0001 [Google Scholar]
  9. Grice, H. Paul
    1975 “Logic and conversation”. Syntax and Semantics. Vol III: Speech actsed byPeter Cole and Jerry L. Morgan. 41–58. New York: Academic Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Hubers, Ferdy
    2019 “Two of a kind: Idiomatic expressions by native speakers and second language learners”. PhD diss., Radboud University Nijmegen. LOT publications 551.
  11. Irujo, Suzanne
    1986 “Don’t Put Your Leg in Your Mouth: Transfer in the Acquisition of Idioms in a Second Language”. TESOL Quarterly20 (2): 287–304. 10.2307/3586545
    https://doi.org/10.2307/3586545 [Google Scholar]
  12. Karlsson, Monica
    2013 “Quantitative and qualitative aspects of L1 (Swedish) and L2 (English) idiom comprehension”. Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching3 (2): 293–319. 10.14746/ssllt.2013.3.2.7
    https://doi.org/10.14746/ssllt.2013.3.2.7 [Google Scholar]
  13. Kellerman, Eric
    1987 “Aspects of transferability in second language acquisition”. PhD diss., Catholic University of Nijmegen.
  14. La Roi, Amélie
    2021 “Idioms in the Aging Brain”. PhD diss., University of Groningen.
  15. Liontas, John I.
    2003 “Killing two birds with one stone: understanding Spanish VP idioms in and out of context”. Hispania86 (2): 289–301. 10.2307/20062862
    https://doi.org/10.2307/20062862 [Google Scholar]
  16. Liu, Dilin
    2008Idioms: Description, Comprehension, Acquisition, and Pedagogy. New York: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. Nunberg, Geoffrey, Ivan A. Sag & Thomas Wasow
    1994 “Idioms”. Language70 (3): 491–538. 10.1353/lan.1994.0007
    https://doi.org/10.1353/lan.1994.0007 [Google Scholar]
  18. R Core Team
    R Core Team 2020 “R: A language and environment for statistical computing”. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria. URL: https://www.R-project.org/
  19. Schenk, André
    1995 “The Syntactic Behavior of Idioms”. Idioms: Structural and Psychological Perspectivesed. byMartin Everaert253–272. Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. Schweigert, Wendy A.
    1986 “The Comprehension of Familiar and Less Familiar Idioms”. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research15 (1): 33–45. 10.1007/BF01067390
    https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01067390 [Google Scholar]
  21. Siefring, Judith
    2004Oxford Dictionary of Idioms. New York: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Sprenger, Simone, Willem Levelt & Gerard Kempen
    2006 “Lexical access during the production of idiomatic phrases”. Journal of Memory and Language54 (2): 161–184. 10.1016/j.jml.2005.11.001
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jml.2005.11.001 [Google Scholar]
  23. Titone, Debra A. & Cynthia M. Connine
    1994 “Descriptive Norms for 171 Idiomatic Expressions: Familiarity, Compositionality, Predictability, and Literality”. Metaphor and Symbolic Activity9 (4): 247–270. 10.1207/s15327868ms0904_1
    https://doi.org/10.1207/s15327868ms0904_1 [Google Scholar]
  24. Velasco, Yvonne Pedria
    2016 “Compositionality/Non-Compositionality of Idioms: Non-Native Speakers’ Constraints to Comprehension”. Indonesian Journal of Applied Linguistics6 (1): 135–144. 10.17509/ijal.v6i1.2745
    https://doi.org/10.17509/ijal.v6i1.2745 [Google Scholar]
http://instance.metastore.ingenta.com/content/journals/10.1075/avt.00061.dij
Loading
/content/journals/10.1075/avt.00061.dij
Loading

Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): contextual information; familiarity; idiom comprehension; second language; transfer
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error