Beating about the bush: written production and comprehension of L2 idioms
Sammanfattning: A study on the online process of producing idioms in writing and how second language learners manage the production and comprehension of idioms may provide a useful and comprehensive investigation of the production, comprehension and acquisition of language. The study in this paper investigated how Swedish (L1) second language learners of English (L2) produce and comprehend written idioms in the L2. It also explored whether production and comprehension of idioms which are lexically and semantically different in Swedish and English result in more difficulties for the learners compared to idioms which are lexically and semantically identical or similar. The difficulties are measured as time to onset and production accuracy. The study also investigated if the time to onset and production accuracy were affected by the idiom usage frequency. A keystroke logging software for research on the writing process was used. The results indicated an individual variation across participants and idioms. Participants with a high proficiency in the L2 seem to manage the production of L2 idioms somewhat better than participants with a lower proficiency, but still with difficulties. Even idioms which are lexically and semantically identical or similar in the L1 and L2 result in problems during production. The results in terms of time to onset and production accuracy were affected by the idiom usage frequency.
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