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.
idioms, metaphoric competence, cross-linguistic differences
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