Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-wzw2p Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-05-28T09:05:54.242Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

SECOND LANGUAGE IDIOM LEARNING IN A PAIRED-ASSOCIATE PARADIGM: Effects of Direction of Learning, Direction of Testing, Idiom Imageability, and Idiom Transparency

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 July 2007

Margarita P. Steinel
Affiliation:
University of Amsterdam
Jan H. Hulstijn
Affiliation:
University of Amsterdam
Wolfgang Steinel
Affiliation:
Leiden University

Abstract

In a paired-associate learning (PAL) task, Dutch university students (n = 129) learned 20 English second language (L2) idioms either receptively or productively (i.e., L2-first language [L1] or L1-L2) and were tested in two directions (i.e., recognition or production) immediately after learning and 3 weeks later. Receptive and productive performance was affected by direction of learning. This finding parallels findings from PAL experiments on L2 individual-word learning. On a productive test, productive learners had a sizable advantage over receptive learners, whereas on recognition, receptive learners outperformed productive learners. Two idiom characteristics, imageability (capacity to evoke a mental image) and transparency (overlap between literal and figurative meaning), as assessed in a norming study by an independent sample (n = 80), qualified these findings. Indicating the importance of dual coding in idiom learning, imageability predicted performance, and receptive learning was particularly inefficient for low imageable idioms. Transparency was a weaker predictor of performance and only affected recognition.This study is based on the first author's MA research. We would like to thank the four anonymous SSLA reviewers for their helpful comments on this manuscript. Any errors or omissions remain our own.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 2007 Cambridge University Press

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

REFERENCES

Arnaud, P.J.L. & Savignon, S. (1997). Rare words, complex lexical units and the advanced learner. In J. Coady & T. Huckin (Eds.), Second language vocabulary acquisition: A rationale for pedagogy (pp. 157173). New York: Cambridge University Press.
Battig, W.F. (1979). The flexibility of human memory. In L. S. Cermak & F. I. M. Craik (Eds.), Levels of processing in human memory (pp. 2344). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Boers, F., Demecheleer, M., & Eyckmans, J. (2004). Etymological elaboration as a strategy for learning idioms. In P. Bogaards & B. Laufer (Eds.), Vocabulary in a second language: Selection, acquisition and testing (pp. 5378). Amsterdam: Benjamins.
Bortfeld, H. (2002). What native and non-native speakers' images for idioms tell as about figurative language. In R. R. Heredia & J. Altarriba (Eds.), Bilingual sentence processing (pp. 275295). Amsterdam: Elsevier.
Bortfeld, H. (2003). Comprehending idioms cross-linguistically. Experimental Psychology, 50, 217230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bortz, J. (1989). Statistik für Sozialwissenschaftler [Statistics for social scientists]. Berlin: Springer-Verlag.
Bransford, J.D., Franks, J.J., Morris, C.D., & Stein, B.S. (1979). Some general constraints on learning and memory research. In L. S. Cermak & F. I. M. Craik (Eds.), Levels of processing in human memory (pp. 331354). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Cacciari, C. & Glucksberg, S. (1991). Understanding idiomatic expressions: The contribution of word meanings. In G. B. Simpson (Ed.), Understanding word and sentence (pp. 217240). Amsterdam: Elsevier.
Cacciari, C. & Glucksberg, S. (1995). Imagining idiomatic expressions: Literal or figurative meanings? In M. Everaert, E.-J. van der Linden, A. Schenk, & R. Schreuder (Eds.), Idioms: Structural and psychological perspectives (pp. 4356). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Cooper, T.C. (1999). Processing of idioms by L2 learners of English. TESOL Quarterly, 33, 233262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Craik, F.I.M. & Lockhart, R.S. (1972). Levels of processing: A framework for memory research. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 11, 671684.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Crothers, E. & Suppes, P. (1967). Experiments in second-language learning. San Diego: Academic Press.
De Groot, A.M.B. (2006). Effects of stimulus characteristics and background music on foreign language vocabulary learning and forgetting. Language Learning, 56, 463506.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
De Groot, A.M.B. & Hoeks, J.C.J. (1995). The development of bilingual memory: Evidence from word translation by trilinguals. Language Learning, 45, 683724.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
De Groot, A.M.B. & Keijzer, R. (2000). What is hard to learn is easy to forget: The roles of word concreteness, cognate status, and word frequency in foreign-language vocabulary learning and forgetting. Language Learning, 50, 156.Google Scholar
De Groot, A.M.B. & Poot, R. (1997). Word translation at three levels of proficiency in a second language: The ubiquitous involvement of conceptual memory. Language Learning, 47, 215264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ellis, N.C. & Beaton, A. (1993). Psycholinguistic determinants of foreign language vocabulary learning. Language Learning, 43, 559617.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fraser, B. (1970). Idioms within a transformational grammar. Foundations of Language, 6, 2242.Google Scholar
Geeraerts, D. (1995). Specialization and reinterpretation in idioms. In M. Everaert, E.-J. van der Linden, A. Schenk, & R. Schreuder (Eds.), Idioms: Structural and psychological perspectives (pp. 5773). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Gibbs, R.W., Jr. (1985). On the process of understanding idioms. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 14, 465472.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gibbs, R.W., Jr. (1993). Why idioms are not dead metaphors. In C. Cacciari & P. Tabossi (Eds.), Idioms: Processing, structure, and interpretation (pp. 5777). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Gibbs, R.W., Jr. & Nayak, N.P. (1989). Psycholinguistic studies on the syntactic behavior of idioms. Cognitive Psychology, 21, 100138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gibbs, R.W., Jr., Nayak, N.P., & Cutting, C. (1989). How to kick the bucket and not decompose: Analyzability and idiom processing. Journal of Memory and Language, 28, 576593.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Glucksberg, S. (1993). Idiom meanings and allusional content. In C. Cacciari & P. Tabossi (Eds.), Idioms: Processing, structure, and interpretation (pp. 326). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Griffin, G. & Harley, T.A. (1996). List learning of second language vocabulary. Applied Psycholinguistics, 17, 443460.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Horowitz, L.M. & Gordon, A.M. (1972). Associative symmetry and second language learning. Journal of Educational Psychology, 63, 287294.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Howarth, P. (1998). Phraseology and second language proficiency. Applied Linguistics, 19, 2444.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hulstijn, J.H. (2003). Incidental and intentional learning. In C. J. Doughty & M. H. Long (Eds.), The handbook of second language acquisition (pp. 349381). Oxford: Blackwell.
Irujo, S. (1986). Don't put your leg in your mouth: Transfer in the acquisition of idioms in a second language. TESOL Quarterly, 20, 287304.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Irujo, S. (1993). Steering clear: Avoidance in the production of idioms. IRAL, 31, 205219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jacoby, L.L. & Craik, F.I.M. (1979). Effects of elaboration of processing at encoding and retrieval: Trace distinctiveness and recovery of initial context. In L. S. Cermak & F. I. M. Craik (Eds.), Levels of processing in human memory (pp. 121). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Jones, G.V. (1985). Deep dyslexia, imageability, and ease of prediction. Brain and Language, 24, 119.Google Scholar
Kellerman, E. (1983). Now you see it, now you don't. In S. M. Gass & L. Selinker (Eds.), Language transfer in language learning (pp. 112134). Rowley, MA: Newbury House.
Kroll, J.F. (1993). Accessing conceptual representations for words in a second language. In R. Schreuder & B. Weltens (Eds.), The bilingual lexicon (pp. 6381). Amsterdam: Benjamins.
Kroll, J.F. & Stewart, E. (1994). Category interference in translation and picture naming: Evidence for asymmetric connections between bilingual memory representations. Journal of Memory and Language, 33, 149174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kroll, J.F. & Tokowicz, N. (2005). Models of bilingual representation and processing: Looking back and to the future. In J. F. Kroll & A. M. B. de Groot (Eds.), Handbook of bilingualism: Psycholinguistic approaches (pp. 531554). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Lakoff, G. & Johnson, M. (1980). Metaphors we live by. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Liontas, J. (2002). Context and idiom understanding in second languages. EUROSLA Yearbook, 2, 155185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lockhart, R.S. (2002). Levels of processing, transfer-appropriate processing, and the concept of robust encoding. Memory, 10, 397403.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mägiste, E. (1979). The competing language systems of the multilingual: A developmental study of decoding and encoding processes. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 18, 7989.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mondria, J.-A. & Wiersma, B. (2004). Receptive, productive, and receptive + productive L2 vocabulary learning: What difference does it make? In P. Bogaards & B. Laufer (Eds.), Vocabulary in a second language: Selection, acquisition and testing (pp. 79100). Amsterdam: Benjamins.
Moon, R. (1997). Vocabulary connections: Multi-word items in English. In N. Schmitt & M. McCarthy (Eds.), Vocabulary: Description, acquisition and pedagogy (pp. 4063). New York: Cambridge University Press.
Nation, I.S.P. (2001). Learning vocabulary in another language. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRef
Nunberg, G., Sag, I.A., & Wasow, T. (1994). Idioms. Language, 70, 491538.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Olkin, J. & Siotani, M. (1964). Asymptotic distribution functions of a correlation matrix (Rep. No. 6). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Laboratory for Quantitative Research in Education.
Paivio, A. (1969). Mental imagery in associative learning and memory. Psychological Review, 76, 241263.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Paivio, A. (1971). Imagery and verbal processes. New York: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston.
Paivio, A., Yuille, J.C., & Smythe, P.C. (1966). Stimulus and response abstractness, imagery, and meaningfulness, and reported mediators in paired-associate learning. Canadian Journal of Psychology, 20, 362377.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Schmidt, R.A. & Bjork, R.A. (1992). New conceptualizations of practice: Common principles in three paradigms suggest new concepts for training. Psychological Science, 3, 207217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Schneider, V.I., Healy, A.F., & Bourne, L.E., Jr. (2002). What is learned under difficult conditions is hard to forget: Contextual interference effects in foreign vocabulary acquisition, retention, and transfer. Journal of Memory and Language, 46, 419440.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Schuyten, M.C. (1906). Experimentelles zum Studium der gebräuchlichsten Methoden im fremdsprachlichen Unterricht [Experimental approaches to the study of the most common methods in foreign language teaching]. Experimentelle Pädagogik, 3, 199210.Google Scholar
Schwanenflugel, P.J., Harnishfeger, K.K., & Stowe, R.W. (1988). Context availability and lexical decisions for abstract and concrete words. Journal of Memory and Language, 27, 499520.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Stoddard, G.D. (1929). An experiment in verbal learning. Journal of Educational Psychology, 20, 452457.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Titone, D.A. & Connine, C.M. (1994). Descriptive norms for 171 idiomatic expressions: Familiarity, compositionality, predictability, and literality. Metaphor and Symbolic Activity, 9, 247270.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Underwood, B.J. & Schulz, R.W. (1960). Meaningfulness and verbal learning. New York: Lippincott.
Wang, A.Y. & Thomas, M.H. (1995). Effect of keywords on long-term retention: Help or hindrance? Journal of Educational Psychology, 87, 468475.Google Scholar
Wang, A.Y., Thomas, M.H., & Ouellette, J.A. (1992). Keyword mnemonic and retention of second-language vocabulary words. Journal of Educational Psychology, 84, 520528.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Weinreich, U. (1969). Problems in the analysis of idioms. In J. Puhvel (Ed.), Substance and structure of language. Berkeley: University of California Press.