Differential Effects of Etymological Elaboration and Rote Memorization on Idiom Acquisition [1] in College EFL Learners

| September 26, 2008
Title
Differential Effects of Etymological Elaboration and Rote Memorization on Idiom Acquisition [1] in College EFL Learners

Keywords: etymology, rote memorization, idiom acquisition and retention, Chinese college EFL learners

Authors
Shan-fang Guo
Heze University, China

Bio Data
Shan-fang Guo teaches undergraduate English courses in the Department of Foreign Languages at Heze University, Shandong, China, and has 16 years EFL teaching experience at the university. His academic interests include classroom-based research, cognitive metaphor research, and foreign language teaching. He holds an MA degree in applied English linguistics.

Abstract
This study investigates differential effects of etymological elaboration and rote memorization on idiom acquisition and retention in Chinese college EFL learners.The sample (N = 70) involved two intact groups of college students. Subjects in one group received instruction in the form of etymological familiarity while subjects in the comparison group were asked to memorize idioms on the basis of their given meaning. Subjects were then administered two post-tests: one to assess initial idiom acquisition, and another four weeks later to assess idiom retention. Statistical analyses produced sufficient support for both the first hypothesis (that the etymological familiarity condition would acquire more idioms than the rote memorization condition), and the second hypothesis–that the etymological familiarity would exhibit superior retention rates.The finding of this study suggests that for the purpose of encouraging long-term retention, elaborating on the original usage of idioms is preferable to asking students to learn idioms by rote.

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See page 127-145

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Category: Quarterly Journal, Volume 10 Issue 3