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Bilingual and Monolingual Idiom Processing Is Cut from the Same Cloth: The Role of the L1 in Literal and Figurative Meaning Activation

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ABSTRACT

The present study examines non-native (L2) and native (L1) listeners' access to figurative idiomatic meaning and literal constituent meaning in two cross-modal priming experiments. Proficient German learners of English (L2) and native speakers of American English (L1) responded to English target words preceded by English idioms embedded in non-biasing prime sentences in a lexical decision task. English idioms differed in levels of translatability: Lexical level idioms had word-for-word translation equivalents in German, while post-lexical level idioms had matching idiomatic concepts in German but could not be translated word for word. Target words either related to the figurative meaning of the idiom or related to the literal meaning of the final constituent word of the idiom (e.g., to pull someone's leg, literal target: walk, figurative target: joke). Both L1 and L2 listeners showed facilitatory priming for literally- and figuratively-related target words compared to unrelated control target words, with only marginal differences between the listener groups. No effect of translatability was found; that is, the existence of word-for-word translation equivalents in German neither facilitated nor hindered meaning activation for German L2 listeners. The results are interpreted in the context of L1 and L2 models of idiom processing as well as further relevant translation studies.

No MeSH data available.


Mean RTs (in ms) for English L1 listeners in Experiment 2. Figurativeness is represented by F (figurative) and L (literal) and relatedness is represented by REL (related) and UNREL (unrelated).
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Figure 2: Mean RTs (in ms) for English L1 listeners in Experiment 2. Figurativeness is represented by F (figurative) and L (literal) and relatedness is represented by REL (related) and UNREL (unrelated).

Mentions: As in Experiment 1, we used R (R Core Team, 2015) and lme4 (Bates et al., 2015) to perform a linear mixed effects analysis of the relationships between figurativeness, relatedness, and lexicality on reaction times. Table 5 reports the mean RTs and inverse RTs measured from target onset for each condition. Figure 2 shows mean RTs for figurativeness and relatedness, with error bars representing standard error. A total of 3.7% of the data were not included in the final analysis after exclusion of any remaining residuals.


Bilingual and Monolingual Idiom Processing Is Cut from the Same Cloth: The Role of the L1 in Literal and Figurative Meaning Activation
Mean RTs (in ms) for English L1 listeners in Experiment 2. Figurativeness is represented by F (figurative) and L (literal) and relatedness is represented by REL (related) and UNREL (unrelated).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
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getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5016721&req=5

Figure 2: Mean RTs (in ms) for English L1 listeners in Experiment 2. Figurativeness is represented by F (figurative) and L (literal) and relatedness is represented by REL (related) and UNREL (unrelated).
Mentions: As in Experiment 1, we used R (R Core Team, 2015) and lme4 (Bates et al., 2015) to perform a linear mixed effects analysis of the relationships between figurativeness, relatedness, and lexicality on reaction times. Table 5 reports the mean RTs and inverse RTs measured from target onset for each condition. Figure 2 shows mean RTs for figurativeness and relatedness, with error bars representing standard error. A total of 3.7% of the data were not included in the final analysis after exclusion of any remaining residuals.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

The present study examines non-native (L2) and native (L1) listeners' access to figurative idiomatic meaning and literal constituent meaning in two cross-modal priming experiments. Proficient German learners of English (L2) and native speakers of American English (L1) responded to English target words preceded by English idioms embedded in non-biasing prime sentences in a lexical decision task. English idioms differed in levels of translatability: Lexical level idioms had word-for-word translation equivalents in German, while post-lexical level idioms had matching idiomatic concepts in German but could not be translated word for word. Target words either related to the figurative meaning of the idiom or related to the literal meaning of the final constituent word of the idiom (e.g., to pull someone's leg, literal target: walk, figurative target: joke). Both L1 and L2 listeners showed facilitatory priming for literally- and figuratively-related target words compared to unrelated control target words, with only marginal differences between the listener groups. No effect of translatability was found; that is, the existence of word-for-word translation equivalents in German neither facilitated nor hindered meaning activation for German L2 listeners. The results are interpreted in the context of L1 and L2 models of idiom processing as well as further relevant translation studies.

No MeSH data available.