December 2007. Volume 2 Issue 3
Is Idiom Comprehension Influenced by Metaphor
Awareness of the Learners?
A Case Study of Chinese EFL Learners
Heze University, China
Shan-fang Guo is an EFL instructor in the Department of Foreign Languages at Heze University, Shandong Prov., China. He holds an M.A. in applied English linguistics from Guizhou University. He is currently teaching undergraduate courses. His major research interests include classroom-based research, cognitive metaphor research, and foreign language teaching.
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Idioms are not completely arbitrary, but “motivated” by metaphors. This present study, a quasi-experimental research design, explored the effect of students’ metaphor awareness on idiom comprehension with college level Chinese beginning EFL language learners. The experimental group received some treatment in the form of raising their awareness of metaphors, while the contrastive group received traditional instruction alone. A post-comprehending assessment was administered for both the contrastive and experimental groups after the treatment. Through a one-way analysis of variance on the data from the test, the finding of this study demonstrates that there was a statistical difference on comprehension measures between the experimental group and the contrastive group (P < .05). The interviews provide the same evidence in support of the effect of metaphor awareness on comprehension of idioms.
Keywords: EFL learners, foreign language teaching, China, metaphor awareness, idiom comprehension