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Idiomatic processing for EFL (Editing Sample)

Idiomatic processing in EFL classroom Name Institution INTRODUCTION Learning another language fully needs a lot of perseverance and systematic practice. Competence acquisition of figurative in language is considered one of the challenges in the foreign language learning process. An essential component of figurative competence is the awareness of idiomatic expressions. While understanding idioms is usually easy for L1 listeners of a language, L2 listeners often find recognizing and understanding them to be a stumbling block especially in EFL context. The present study investigated the role of first language (L1) transfer in Arab EFL learners' second language (L2) idiom comprehension. Irujo (1986) categorized the idiom items into three types in terms of the similarity between L1 and L2: identical, similar, and different idiom. LITERATURE REVIEW Like other facets of figurative language, idioms are both complex and pervasive in language; e.g (as cited in Cooper, 1999) estimated an average of 7000 idioms a week for L1 speakers based on the occurrence of figurative language analyses of political debates, psychology texts, novels, and psychotherapy sessions. Though idioms are not a homogenous group, researchers can generally agree that idioms are multi-word expressions with limited variation in syntactic structure. Additionally, the meaning of an idiom typically differs from the literal meanings of the individual constituent words. The fixed nature of idioms might suggest that EFL can learn and utilize idioms quickly, but the conventional misalignment between figurative and literal meaning poses a particular challenge. For example, when a speaker expresses that she is in hot water, one can interpret from the figurative meaning that she is in trouble rather than assuming that she is literally submersed in heated water, as in a hot bath or hot springs. What might be obvious to L1 listeners might not be to EFL listeners, and the expression could confuse rather than inform an EFL listener about the situation. EFL proficiency would, however, benefit significantly from mastery of L2 idiomatic expressions: not only would it make EFL speakers sound more native-like (Boers et al., 2006) it would also free up processing capacities since fixed multi-word expressions are known to be easier to process than novel phrases. Problem statement Learning a foreign language has been compared to L1 acquisition many times, but there are some differences (Fine, 1988). L2 learners do not start from point zero. They have their L1 to turn to. This comparison leads us to contrastive analysis, which is going to determine similarities and differences between the two languages (Fisiak, 1981). Production of the foreign language needs not only to have a good command of language skills, but also to acquire other language features such as idioms. An idiom is a combination of lexical items and has a meaning, which is distinct from the individual, literal or lexical items, and this idiomatic meaning is usually understood based on the conventional use of speakers in the speech community. Thus, idioms are culture specific. In order to comprehend the actual meaning of idioms, it entails learners to be exposed to the target culture and the intercultural differences. Foreign language learners lack the cultural reference and they learn the language in a context where few people use the target language in a daily basis. Arab EFL learners hardly utilize idioms in their everyday L2 use because they are unable to process idiom since most of the idioms have no literal equivalent in their L1.This study represents the interfere of L1 and the difficulties foreign learners face when decoding idioms in a foreign language context. Research Questions: 1 To what extent do Arab EFL learners refer to their mother tongue to decode idioms in L2? 2 Are identical, similar and different idioms decoded in the same way? 3 To what extent the lack of cultural reference of EFL learners affect their process of idiom in L2? Methodology Design Processing of idioms for English Second Learner is greatly influenced by a number of factors including L1. As such, the correlation between idiomatic processing and L1 can be best deduced using quantitative research. The method will be effectively used to uncover how mother tongue affects the decoding of idioms for ESL. Further, quantitative research will provide answers to the above mentioned research question resulting in real and unbiased results. Study site This study will be conducted in King Faisal University. The institution is situated in Al-Ahasa, Eastern province of Saudi Arabia. Founded in 1975, KFU is ranked third in the country and 899 globally. The university was accredited by the Ministry of education. Accordingly, KFU is recognized as largest coeducational higher education institution with an enrollment rate that ranges from 25,000 to 29,900 students. To date, KFU offers leading programs and courses. The institution offers pre-bachelors degree such as certificates, and associate degrees. KFU also offers bachelors, masters, and doctorate degrees in various areas of study. Courses offered includes engineering and English and translation. Other than local students, international students also enroll in the institution. Participants The participants of this study will be 100 EFL students, 45 females and 55 males. This mostly targets students undertaking English and translation course at KFU. Their level of proficiency will range from intermediate to high levels. To ensure that all participants are in the same range of exposure to English the participants will be selected from three different classes based on their scores on the Oxford Placement Test. All participants must have studied English subject in primary and secondary school for an average 8 years. Regarding age, the participants will be between 20 to 30 years. Instruments Think aloud protocol, and oral and written tests will be required. Accordingly, a booklet containing 27 commonly used idioms will be used. To choose idioms, “Symphony in Slang” will be deployed. Ideally, “Symphony in Slang” by Tex Avery is an animated cartoon and its transcript. The animation comprises 27 idioms which are commonly used based on Collins COBUILD Dictionary of Idioms edition 2002 and Oxford Advanced Learners’ Dictionary edition 2008 edition. Further, an idiom familiarity judgment task will be used. The instrument will be deployed to determine the unfamiliar idioms. According to Nippold and Rudzinski (1993), the instrument is useful in determining the familiarity level based on the frequency of encounter with the idioms either in written or oral contexts. Similarly, think-aloud is another instrument that will be deployed. It will be used to determine the commonly used strategies by English language learner to comprehend and derive the meaning of idioms. Also, a laptop will also be used. Procedure The study begins with identifying the strategies used by ESL learners from Saudi Arabia while decoding the meaning of unfamiliar idioms. Thus, the respondents will be subjected to a familiarity judgment task. The respondents will be given a printout comprising of 27 commonly used idioms. The idioms will be derived from “Symphony in Slang” by Tex Avery consulting Oxford Advanced Learners’ Dictionary (2008 edition) and Collins COBUILD Dictionary of Idioms (2002 edition). Using a scale of 1 to 4, the respondents will assess their level of familiarity of each idiom. This will test their frequency they have encountered the idiom in the form of spoken or written. Notably, 1= severally; 2= limited times; 3=one time and 4= never. The first task is the prerequisite of the second task. The idioms with the average score of 3 to 4 will be selected. The chosen idioms will be used to test verbal reporting. The researcher will be provided the respondents a printout of two passengers comprising of four idioms. He will demonstrate what is expected. In this case, the researcher will read through an example of passage and verbally report the approach he or she followe...
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