Taal en bewustzijn
  • ISSN 0169-7420
  • E-ISSN: 2213-4883
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This article reports an experiment in which mental imagery was used as a mnemonic strategy to enhance learners' retention of figurative idioms. Language students in tertiary education were provided with on-line exercises on 120 English idioms. Under the experimental condition, participants were presented with multiple-choice exercises in which they were asked to hypothesise about the etymological origin of the given idioms. This task was meant to elicit mental imagery. Under the control condition, participants were presented with traditional multiple-choice exercises in which they were asked to identify the correct figurative meaning of the idioms. Retention was measured one week later by means of a gap-fill exercise in which the participants were asked to produce the keywords of the idioms in context. The results of the experiment suggest (i) that mental imagery can be a powerful mnemonic strategy, and (ii) that this strategy generates superior recall, especially with regard to etymologically rather transparent figurative idioms, even though processing these may require relatively little cognitive effort.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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