Cultural Duality of Figurative Meanings of Idioms

Maranda E. Cochran, Daniel T. Valentine


This study reviews the current research related to idiom comprehension strategies for both native and Englishlanguage learners (ELL). Central to this study was the examination of the cultural duality hypothesis – the theory thatindividuals may refer to idioms in their native language in order to solve culturally novel idioms that are different inform but similar in figurative meaning. A total of 86 participants were recruited into four testing groups: 1.English-speaking adults (EA) 2. Spanish-speaking adults (SA), 3. English-speaking children (EC), 4.Spanish-speaking children (SC). Each group completed both a Native Idiom Test (NIT) and a Culturally NovelIdiom Test (CNIT) in their native languages. The relationship between these two measures was used to indicate thepresence and extent of cultural duality demonstrated by each group. Results revealed that English-speaking childrenand adults demonstrated the greatest relationship between the NIT and CNIT and therefore demonstrated evidence ofthe use of cultural duality. Fifth-grade English language learners appeared to have limited access to this strategy.

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World Journal of English Language
ISSN 1925-0703(Print)  ISSN 1925-0711(Online)

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