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This paper sure is a brass ring! : A quantitative study on the effect of context for non-native students’ interpretation of English idioms.
Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication.
2018 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Idioms are a big part of languages but can cause trouble for communication, especially for non-native speakers of a language. Interpreting idioms correctly means that one must derive a figurative meaning from words that individually mean something else. Recent research primarily focuses on the impact of context for successful idiom comprehension and seems to prioritize native speakers’ understanding of them. This study investigates the impact of context for Swedish non-native upper secondary students’ interpretation of English idioms. It further explores if grades and level of education are factors to consider. In a two-part, multiple-choice test, 53 students were presented with 10 idioms in context and 10 idioms out of context with two additional questions regarding level of education and last received grade in English. The students were also asked whether they had seen each idiom before or not.

The results showed that context and grade seem to have impact on non-native students’ interpretation of idioms to some extent, but level of education does not seem to. One interesting finding was that idioms were interpreted correctly even though they were neither presented in context nor were considered familiar by the students. A possible conclusion is therefore that even if context is an important factor for successful idiom interpretation for non-native students, several other factors might be of equal importance. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. , p. 33
Series
LÄRARUTBILDNINGEN
Keywords [en]
idiom, interpretation, non-native students, context, Sweden, figurative meaning, familiarity, transparency
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-38225OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-38225DiVA, id: diva2:1176790
Subject / course
English
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2018-01-30 Created: 2018-01-23 Last updated: 2018-01-30Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
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