The Effect of Context on the EFL Learners’ Idiom Processing Strategies

Gholamreza Rohani, Saeed Ketabi, Mansoor Tavakoli


The present study investigated the effect of context on the strategies the EFL learners utilized to process idioms. To do so, ten Iranian intermediate EFL learners were randomly assigned to two groups who then attended a think-aloud session. The 5 subjects in the first group were exposed to an animated cartoon including 23 unfamiliar idioms while their counterparts in the second group were exposed to the written version of the same material. The subjects of the two groups were asked to verbally report their thought processes when trying to define the unfamiliar idioms. The data thus gathered form the small sample revealed 8 major strategies which were then used to prepare a questionnaire to be administered to a larger sample. The new sample included 60 subjects randomly assigned to two groups of 30.The first group as in the think-aloud session was exposed to the animated cartoon while the other read the respective script. The subjects in both groups were asked to check the strategies they resorted to when guessing the meaning of unfamiliar idioms. The results of the study showed both inter and intra-group differences confirming the effect of context on the strategies applied in processing unfamiliar idioms.

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English Language Teaching       ISSN 1916-4742 (Print)   ISSN  1916-4750 (Online)

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