Facilitating the Learning of English Idioms through Conceptual Metaphor Theory
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The present research endeavors to investigate the effect of Lakoff & Johnson’s (1980) Conceptual Metaphor theory on the comprehension and production of English idioms. It seeks to promote language proficiency through the development of Formulaic Competence and to investigate teachers’ attitudes towards teaching idioms. Two upper-intermediate groups of EFL students, referred to by experimental and control, at the department of English were selected randomly in order to fulfill the purpose of this study. Prior to the experiment, a pre-test of figurative expressions containing 18 idioms was administered to the participants of both groups to check their idiom understanding. During the instructional phase, the experimental group received systematic groupings of idioms according to specific Conceptual Metaphors while the control group received the presentation of idioms the traditional way. In both cases three idioms for each session were presented in dialogues. At the end of the instructional period, a post-test was carried out. For further investigation of the issue, a questionnaire was distributed to 10 teachers of the Speaking and Listening subject to explore their attitudes towards idiom-instruction in EFL environment. The design of this study is experimental and adopts a mixed-methods approach. The results obtained from the first part of the tests were analyzed by the one-way ANOVA procedure in SPSS, while those obtained from the second part were analyzed by Conceptual Content Analysis and then turned into percentages. Moreover, the quantitative information gathered from the questionnaire was again analyzed by SPSS, but for the qualitative data the Qualitative Content Analysis was used. The results of data analysis disclosed that the Conceptual Metaphor-based method was more effective than the traditional method on idiom comprehension; whereas for idiom production both groups scored similar and fairly low results. The findings also revealed teachers’ positive attitudes towards teaching and implementing idioms in EFL context. What is even of further interest is that this study may have pedagogical implications for EFL teachers, students, and syllabus designers of idiom-related courses.
- Département d'Anglais