A Comparative Study of the Effectiveness of Two Strategies of Etymological Elaboration and Pictorial Elucidation on Idiom Learning: A Case of Young EFL Iranian Learners

  •  Mahsa Haghshenas    
  •  Mahmood Hashemian    


This study examined the effect of etymological elaboration, pictorial elucidation, and integration of these 2 strategies on idiom learning by L2 learners. A total number of 80 homogeneous intermediate learners studying English at 3 language institutes in Isfahan, Iran, were selected. The intermediate participants were selected as the result of administering an Oxford Placement Test (OPT) to them. Then, the participants were divided into 4 groups of equal size, that is, control, etymological, pictorial, and etymological/pictorial groups. Before the experiment, all the participants took a pretest to ensure their unfamiliarity with the idioms. The idioms that were known even by 1 participant were crossed out, and finally 30 idioms were chosen for instruction. Then, the experimental groups received their relevant treatments during 15 sessions, whereas the control group learners learned idioms through definitions and example sentences. After the implementation of the experiment, the 4 groups, once again, sat for a test (i.e., the immediate posttest) to see whether the treatments had improved idiom learning. Finally, the data were analyzed by an independent samples t test and one-way between-groups ANOVA. Results showed that all the 3 strategies significantly improved the participants’ idiom learning. Results also pointed to the fact that the etymological elaboration/pictorial elucidation strategy was the most effective strategy on idiom learning.

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