https://doi.org/10.2478/rela-2018-0024">
  •  
  •  
 

Research in Language

Abstract

The present study investigates to what extent the effect of cross-linguistic differences on L2 idiom comprehension is modulated by the presence of a context. Sixty students of German as a foreign language (L1 French) completed a comprehension test consisting of metaphorical idioms in the L2 that differed from their L1 equivalents conceptually and formally and were presented with or without context. The results show that an increasing degree of conceptual and formal distance as well as the absence of context are generally associated with lower performance in the idiom comprehension test. However, the analysis of interactions shows that the presence of the context was especially supportive for conceptually different items, whereas the facilitative effect of formal similarity considerably diminished with increasing conceptual distance.

Keywords

idioms, metaphoric competence, cross-linguistic differences

References

Abel, Beate. 2003. English idioms in the first language and second language lexicon: A dual representation approach. Second Language Research 19. 329–358.

Azuma, Masumi. 2009. Positive and negative effects of mother-tongue knowledge on the interpretation of figurative expressions. Papers in Linguistic Science 15. 165–192.

Bobrow, Samuel A. and Susan Bell. 1973. On catching on to idiomatic expressions. Memory and Cognition 1. 343–346.

Boers, Frank and Seth Lindstromberg. 2012. Experimental and intervention studies on formulaic sequences in a second language. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics 32. 83–110.

Boers, Frank, Eyckmans, June and Hélène Stengers. 2007. Presenting figurative idioms with a touch of etymology: More than mere mnemonics? Language Teaching Research 11 (1). 43–62.

Boers, Frank. 2003. Applied linguistics perspectives on cross-cultural variation in conceptual metaphor. Metaphor and Symbol 18. 231–238.

Boers, Frank and Murielle Demecheleer. 2001. Measuring the impact of cross-cultural differences on learners’ comprehension of imageable idioms. English Language Teaching Journal 55 (3). 255–262.

Boers, Frank. 2000. Metaphor awareness and vocabulary retention. Applied Linguistics 21 (4). 553– 571.

Caillies, Stéphanie and Kirsten Butcher. 2007. Processing of idiomatic expressions: Evidence for a new hybrid view. Metaphor and Symbol 22. 79–108.

Cameron, Lynn and Graham Low. 1999. Metaphor. Language Teaching, the International Journal for Language Teachers, Educators and Researchers 32. 77–96.

Charteris-Black, Jonathan. 2002. Second language figurative proficiency: A comparative study of Malay and English. Applied Linguistics 23 (1). 104–133.

Chen, Yi-chen and Huei-ling Lai. 2013. The influence of cultural universality and specificity on EFL learners’ comprehension of metaphor and metonymy. International Journal of Applied Linguistics 23. 312–336.

Cieślicka, Anna. 2015. Idiom acquisition and processing by second/foreign language learners. In Roberto. R. Heredia and Anna Cieślicka (eds.), Bilingual Figurative Language Processing, 208–244. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Cieślicka, Anna, Heredia, Roberto R. and Marc Olivares. 2014. The eyes have it: How language dominance, salience, and context affect eye movements during idiomatic language processing. In Mirosław Pawlak and Larisse Aronin (eds.), Essential topics in applied linguistics and multilingualism. Studies in honor of David Singleton, 21–42. New York: Springer.

Cieślicka, Anna. 2010. Formulaic language in L2: Storage, retrieval and production of idioms by second language learners. Cognitive processing in second language acquisition: Inside the learner’s mind, 149–168. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Cieślicka, Anna. 2006. Literal salience in on-line processing of idiomatic expressions by second language learners. Second Language Research 22. 115–144.

Columbus, Georgie. 2010. Processing MWUs: Are MWU Subtypes Psycholinguistically Real? In David Wood (ed.), Perspectives on Formulaic Language: Acquisition and Communication, 194–212. London/New York: Continuum.

Conklin, Kathy and Norbert Schmitt. 2008. Formulaic sequences: Are they processed more quickly than non-formulaic language by native and non-native speakers? Applied Linguistics 29 (1). 72–89.

Cooper, Thomas. 1999. Processing idioms by L2 Learners of English. TESOL Quarterly 33 (2), 233–62.

Danesi, Marcel. 2008. Conceptual errors in second-language learning. In Sabine de Knop and Teun de Rycker (eds.), Cognitive Approaches to Pedagogical Grammar, 231–256. Berlin & New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

De Cock, Barbara and Ferran Suñer. 2018. The influence of conceptual differences on processing taboo metaphors in the foreign language. In Andrea Pizarro (ed.), Linguistic Taboo Revisited. Novel Insights from Cognitive Perspectives. Cognitive Linguistics Research Series (CLR), 379–395. Amsterdam: Mouton de Gruyter.

Durrant, Philip and Alice Doherty. 2010. Are high-frequency collocations psychologically real? Investigating the thesis of collocational priming. Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory 6 (2). 125–155.

Ferreira, Luciane Correa. 2008. A psycholinguistic study on metaphor comprehension in a foreign language. ReVEL 6 (11). 1–23.

Gibbs, Raymond W. 1994. The poetics of mind: Figurative thought, language, and understanding. Cambrodge: Cambridge University Press.

Gibbs, Raymond W. 1986. Skating on thin ice: Literal meaning and understanding idioms in conversation. Discourse Processes 9. 17–30.

Giora, Rachel. 2003. On our mind: Salience, context, and figurative language. New York: Oxford University Press.

Giora, Rachel. 1999. On the priority of salient meanings: studies of literal and figurative language. Pragmatics 31. 919–929.

Grady, Joseph E. 2007. Metaphor. In Dirk Geeraerts and Hubert Cuyckens (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Linguistics, 187–213. Oxford: Oxford UP.

Hoang, Ha. 2014. Metaphor and Second Language Learning: The State of the Field. TESL-EJ 18 (2). Available from: http://www.tesl-ej.org/wordpress/issues/volume18/ej70/ej70a5/ [Accessed on: January 8, 2018].

Irujo, Suzanne. 1986. Don’t put your leg in your mouth: Transfer in the acquisition of idioms in a second language. TESOL Quarterly 20. 287–304.

Kecskes, Istvan. 2000. A cognitive-pragmatic approach to situation-bound utterances. Journal of Pragmatics 32 (5). 605–625.

Lakoff, George and Mark Johnson. 1980. Metaphors we live by. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Langacker, Ronald W. 1991. Foundations of cognitive grammar. Descriptive application. Volume 2. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Libben, Maya R. and Debra A. Titone. 2008. The multidetermined nature of idiom processing. Memory & Cognition 36. 1103–1121.

Littlemore, Jeannette, Krenmayr, Tina, Turner, James and Sarah Turner. 2014. An investigation into metaphor use at different levels of second language writing. Applied Linguistics 32 (4). 208–429.

Littlemore, Jeannette and Graham Low. 2006. Metaphoric competence and communicative language ability. Applied Linguistics 27 (2). 268–294.

Liontas, John I. 2002. Context and idiom understanding in second languages. EUROSLA Yearbook, 2. 155–185

Pizarro Pedraza, Andrea. 2013. Tabú y eufemismo en la ciudad de Madrid: estudio sociolíngüístico-cognitivo de los conceptos sexuales. PhD Thesis. Universidad Complutense de Madrid.

Siyanova-Chanturia, Anna; Conklin, Kathy and Norbert Schmitt. 2011. Adding more fuel to the fire: An eye-tracking study of idiom processing by native and non-native speakers. Second Language Research 27. 1–22.

Skoufaki, Sophia. 2008. Investigating the source of idiom transparency intuitions. Metaphor and Symbol 24. 20–41.

Sperber, Dan and Deirdre Wilson. 1995. Relevance: Communication and cognition. Oxford: Blackwell.

Sprenger, Simone A.; Levelt, Willem J.M. and Gerard Kempen. 2006. Lexical access during the production of idiomatic phrases. Journal of Memory and Language 54. 161–184.

Titone, Debra A. and Cynthia M. Connine. 1999. On the compositional and noncompositional nature of idiomatic expressions. Journal of Pragmatics 31. 1655–1674.

Türker, Ebru. 2016. The role of L1 conceptual and linguistic knowledge and frequency in the acquisition of L2 metaphorical expressions. Second Language Research 32 (1). 25–48.

Yeganehjoo, Masoomeh, Thai, Yap Ngee, Abdullah, Mardziah Hayati and Tan Bee Hoon. 2012. The influence of cross-linguistic similarities on L2 idiom production. The Southeast Asian Journal of English Language Studies 18. 91–107.

First Page

495

Last Page

513

Language

eng

Share

COinS