|Abstract: ||對以英語為第二語言或外語的學習者而言，學習慣用語的策略已被侷限在將慣言語視為不可分割的單位以及透過上文下、其組成單字之字面意思、學習者的背景知識來瞭解其意思，甚至是以反覆背誦的方式來學習。然而，近年來，許多研究 (Boer & Demecheleer, 2001; Cacciari & Glucksberg, 1991; Gibbs, 1992; Gibbs and O’Brien, 1990; Gibbs, Bogdanovich, Sykes, and Barr, 1997; Glucksberg, 1993; Li, 2002; Nayak & Gibbs, 1990; Ruwet, 1983) 建議可藉由概念隱喻和換喻的功用和運用協助第二語言學習者瞭解並習得慣言語的意義。 |
The strategies of learning idioms for second language or foreign language learners have been restricted to treating them as inseparable units and to deciphering their figurative interpretations by using contextual cues, the literal meanings of the individual components, the learners’ background knowledge, or even by rote. However, in recent years, some research has suggested the functional role of conceptual metaphors and metonymies and their implication in assisting L2 learners to comprehend and acquire the meanings of idioms (Li, 2002, Boer & Demecheleer, 2001; Cacciari & Glucksberg, 1991Gibbs, 1992; Gibbs and O’Brien, 1990; Gibbs, Bogdanovich, Sykes, and Barr, 1997; Glucksberg, 1993; Nayak & Gibbs, 1990; Ruwet, 1983).
The present study is an investigation of the utility of conceptual metaphors and metonymies in enhancing the idiom comprehension of EFL learners. The goals of the study are (1) what are the strategies these test subjects used and were they aware of the underlying metaphors and metonymies and meanings of the selected idioms, (2) will raising the awareness of these inherent cognitive devices facilitate better learning. If so, to what extent does the teaching of the underlying metaphors and metonymies increase the EFL learners’ idiom comprehension, (3) can metonymies and complex metaphors, due to their cultural specificity, be taught to learners, and (4) whether the ability and time to comprehend conceptual metaphors correlate with language proficiency level measures by the Entrance College Joint Exam or not? If not, what other factors, such as universal or cultural knowledge could affect this outcome? Participants were 40 Chinese learners of English with half of them being high-intermediate and the other half low-intermediate learners of English who were required to give the meanings of tested idioms without the benefit of context. Data were collected by means of the think-aloud procedure: participants were required to verbalize their thoughts as they arrived at the meanings of the idioms.
Results show that, in the pre-test, participants were not aware of the connection of the
underlying metaphorical and/or metonymical knowledge and the figurative meanings of idioms.
However, the underlying knowledge, including two kinds of metaphors and metonymies, of idioms
could be to some extent taught to learners, which in turn facilitated and increased their comprehension
of unfamiliar idioms. Also, the ability to comprehend conceptual metaphors and metonymies is connected not only to universal and cultural knowledge but also correlated with the participants’ language proficiency.