Developing a pragmatic methodology of idiomaticity: The comprehension and interpretation of SL vivid phrasal idioms during reading
AuthorLiontas, John Ioannis
AdvisorAriew, Robert A.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis study aimed to achieve three goals. First, it investigated the notion that the process of L2 idiom comprehension and interpretation is not the same as that for L1 comprehension, that is there are some fundamentally different ways in which second language (SL) learners grasp idiomatic meaning of Vivid Phrasal (VP) Idioms. Second, it researched the notion that the L2 comprehension process of idioms may be universal with regard to Spanish, French, and German. Third, it researched the extent to which SL learners want idioms to be an integral part of their language and culture training. The dissertation then proposed a systematic program for developing idiomatic competence in second and foreign languages in the context of meaningful authentic use. The subjects of this study were 60 third-year adult university learners of Spanish, French, and German. Employing three types of data-collection practices--(1) Computer-mediated Reading Tasks (Idiom Detection Task, Zero Context Task, Full Context Task, and Eureka Task), (2) Interactional Reading Tasks (Think-Aloud Reading Tasks, Retellings, and Introspection), and (3) Demographic Data Collection and Post-Task Evaluations--this study involved within-subject repeated measures of data and included both quantitative and qualitative analyses of 30 computerized idiomatic texts from each language group. The results strongly suggested that the L2 comprehension process of idioms is not the same as that for L1 comprehension and, moreover, that there is indeed a universal process of comprehending and interpreting VP idioms in second languages, at least with respect to the languages investigated. More specifically, the study provided strong evidence that (1) SL readers are quite capable of detecting VP idioms in texts successfully using a variety of contextual cues and reading strategies, including, but not limited to, word and idiom recognition, lexical access and retrieval, contextual and pragmatic support, background and world knowledge, formal schemata, and strategy use; (2) matching idioms between L1 and L2 (Lexical-Level or LL Idioms) are processed and comprehended faster and with greater ease than partially-matching idioms (Semi-lexical Level or SLL Idioms) or non-matching idioms (Post-lexical Level or PLL Idioms) between L1 and L2 and, finally, (3) increased context and an individual's pragmatic knowledge exert a significant impact on the comprehension and interpretation of all VP idioms, especially on those of the PLL type.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Second Language Acquisition and Teaching