Native and Non-native Idiom Processing: Same Difference

DSpace Repository


Dokumentart: PhDThesis
Date: 2020-08-13
Language: English
Faculty: 5 Philosophische Fakultät
Department: Anglistik, Amerikanistik
Advisor: Weber, Andrea (Prof. Dr.)
Day of Oral Examination: 2020-07-17
DDC Classifikation: 150 - Psychology
400 - Language and Linguistics
420 - English and Old English
Keywords: Phraseologie , Psycholinguistik , Sprachverarbeitung
Other Keywords: Idiomen
Figurative Bedeutung
figurative meaning
formulaic language
language processing
idiom processing
Show full item record


This dissertation looks at idiom processing in native (L1) and non-native (L2) speakers. The duality of meaning represented by idioms (e.g., the idiom piece of cake means figuratively very easy but literally describes dessert) poses issues for theories of language processing and composition. While L1 speakers can easily comprehend idioms, L2 speakers have more difficulty in doing so. However, it is still unclear whether these difficulties are evidence of differential processing in L1 and L2 listeners. This work looks at idiom processing in both speaker groups via a collection of experimental studies in order to answer the overarching question: How do L1 and L2 idiom processing compare? In doing so, a number of issues are considered, such as: the timeline of meaning activation for figurative (idiomatic) meaning as well as literal constituent and phrasal meaning; the flexibility in this process during comprehension; the impact of idiomatic properties on processing; recognition memory for equal figurative and literal phrases after learning; and brain activation during comprehension. The work includes a database of American English idioms with L1 and L2 (German L1) norming values as well as experimental methods in L1 and L2 speakers such as cross-modal priming, eye-tracking, self-paced reading, training and recognition, and fMRI. The evidence presented suggests that L1 and L2 idiom processing differ based on general L1 and L2 differences, however, a single idiomatic processing method which considers both figurative and literal meaning is responsible for both speaker groups.

This item appears in the following Collection(s)