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Cultural and Linguistic Encounters

Arab EFL Learners Encoding and Decoding Idioms


Anissa Daoudi

Idioms are universal to all languages, and figurative language is pervasive in everyday discourse. However, idiom studies rarely touch on the problems figurative language can present to non-native speakers. This book sets out to provide an original analysis of the issue, focusing on a number of languages, including Arabic, Berber, French and English. The author addresses the question of idiomaticity from linguistic, psycholinguistic and pedagogical perspectives, highlighting in particular the strategies used by Arab learners (primarily Saudis and Algerians) to decode and encode idioms.
The book explores in detail the process of identifying idioms and the factors that affect comprehension. The author also analyses the current state of bilingual Arabic-English-Arabic dictionaries and asks to what extent learners can rely on them as a source for decoding idioms.


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Appendices 157


APPENDIX 1 A Practical Instructional Model Level: Year Four BA in Translation; or BA in English Topic: Teaching idioms Time allocated: 3 hours (2 sessions of one and half hours each) This model lesson assumes that students have been introduced to idioms and idiomaticity. The aim is to: a) Identify idioms in various contexts. b) Find out the interpretations of selected idioms. c) Classify idioms into categories, referring to their Arabic counter‑ parts. By the end of the workshop students will be able to: a) Dif ferentiate between literal and figurative interpretations through class discussions. b) Look up idioms in the dictionary and check translations. Abbreviations used: (T)=Teacher (S)=Students OHP=Over Head Projector 158 APPENDIX 1 Workshop Session One: 1 hour and 30 minutes Students’ aims for the first session: 1. Identify idioms in various contexts. 2. Find out the interpretations of selected idioms. Introduction: Brainstorming (T) puts on the OHP with a list of selected idioms. 1. It is raining cats and dogs. 2. To spill the beans. 3. Passed with f lying colours. 4. Flying birds are colourful. 5. To paint the town red. 6. To be in cloud seven. 1. Have you ever come across these idioms? 2. Which of these expressions is idiomatic? 3. What made you decide about the idiomaticity of each expression? Development (T) brief ly points out the idiomaticity of some idioms of the list below. Then, (T) instructs (S) in pairs to perform Drill 1. The aim of this drill...

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