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ΕΘΝΙΚΟ ΚΑΙ ΚΑΠΟΔΙ΢ΣΡΙΑΚΟ NATIONAL AND KAPODISTRIAN

ΠΑΝΕΠΙ΢ΣΗΜΙΟ ΑΘΗΝΩΝ UNIVERSITY OF ATHENS


ΣΜΗΜΑ ΑΓΓΛΙΚΗ΢ ΓΛΩ΢΢Α΢ ΚΑΙ FACULTY OF ENGLISH STUDIES
ΦΙΛΟΛΟΓΙΑ΢ POSTGRADUATE PROGRAMME IN
ΜΕΣΑΠΣΤΥΙΑΚΟ ΠΡΟΓΡΑΜΜΑ ΢ΣΗΝ APPLIED LINGUISTICS
ΕΦΑΡΜΟ΢ΜΕΝΗ ΓΛΩ΢΢ΟΛΟΓΙΑ

A Cognitive Linguistic Treatment of Idiomaticity in an EFL Context

Vassiliki Geka

May 2011

Dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of MA


in Applied Linguistics
Dissertation supervisor: Professor Sophia Marmaridou
A cognitive linguistic treatment of idiomaticity in an EFL context Vassiliki Geka

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Conceptualising, planning, writing and most importantly finishing this master


thesis would have been simply impossible without the help, the support and the
constant guidance of my supervisor Professor Sophia Marmaridou, who
wholeheartedly devoted her time in encouraging and advising me. Thus, special
thanks are due to her for her immense patience and her unique devotion that have set
an example in my academic career as well.

Thanks are also due to all the professors of the Department of English Studies
of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens that I had both the honour and
the pleasure to be a student of during my undergraduate and my postgraduate studies.
Their inspiration has been without doubt tremendous and unceasing.

Last but by no means least, I would like to thank all those people who were by
my side during the difficult and sometimes lonely process of the compilation of my
master thesis. It would not be an overstatement to say that if they were not there for
me, I would not have been able to complete it.

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A cognitive linguistic treatment of idiomaticity in an EFL context Vassiliki Geka

ABSTRACT1*

The present dissertation investigates the ways in which a cognitive linguistic


approach to idiomaticity could contribute to the teaching of idioms within an EFL
context. In particular, it aims at offering a cognitive semantics view of idiomaticity by
drawing on both the viewpoint of the theoretician of language and the viewpoint of
the teaching practitioner. The latter is the main contribution of this thesis since,
despite the discussion carried out at a theoretical level, little work has been done in
relation to providing practical, working ideas and activities for treating idioms in
Cognitive Linguistics-inspired methods in EFL contexts.

Drawing on the premise that idiomaticity is far from arbitrary, the present
thesis is primarily concerned with the conceptual motivation of idioms whose
semantics only seemingly appears to be randomly formed and haphazard. To this end,
the study engages in an analysis of the various approaches and definitions proposed
for idioms to conclude that a cognitive approach to idiomaticity provides a rather
inviting and intriguing option for the teaching of idiomatic expressions. In fact, this
approach is the only one, to the best of my knowledge, that lends itself not only to a
theoretical discussion of the notoriously cumbersome issue of idiomaticity but to
pedagogical application, including key issues in the field of EFL didactics such as
learning strategies, communicative competence and learning styles.

Capitalising on this distinctive quality of the cognitive linguistic approach, the


present thesis frames a detailed pedagogical proposal for idiom instruction within a
self-designed lesson plan and tasks related to anger idioms. Anger idioms are
generally found to be motivated by the general conceptual metaphor ANGER IS HEAT,
which is further instantiated by two more specific versions, namely the ANGER IS FIRE
and the ANGER IS A HOT FLUID IN A CONTAINER metaphors.

It transpires from the above that the present study may be of interest both to
scholars aspiring to develop or enhance further a cognitive, critical glance at
idiomaticity at a theoretical level, but also to those interested in exploiting the
conceptual network of idiomaticity in EFL contexts and specifically in materials‘
design. It might also be of interest to those wishing to explore idiomaticity and

* The abstract of this dissertation is also available in Greek at the last page of this dissertation.

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A cognitive linguistic treatment of idiomaticity in an EFL context Vassiliki Geka

figurative language from an educational and intercultural point of view, as idioms are
understood to be sensitive to cultural construals and enhance speakers‘ creativity.

In short, a cognitive linguistic treatment of idiomaticity is expected to


contribute some innovative pedagogical proposals of interest to theoreticians and
language practitioners alike. Exploiting the potential of the particular approach in
order to explore these proposals is what this thesis will set out to do.

Key words: Cognitive Linguistics, idioms (idiomaticity), conceptual metaphor,


motivation, EFL didactics, lesson plan - practical applications

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A cognitive linguistic treatment of idiomaticity in an EFL context Vassiliki Geka

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Acknowledgements ...................................................................................................... 2
Abstract ......................................................................................................................... 3
Tables and Figures ....................................................................................................... 7
Chapter 1 Introduction................................................................................................ 8
1.1.Aim of the study ................................................................................................... 8
1.2.Structure of the study ........................................................................................... 9
1.3.Defining idiomaticity ......................................................................................... 10
1.3.1. Idiomaticity: Towards a definition ............................................................. 10
1.3.2. The main characteristics attributed to idioms ............................................. 13
1.3.3. Glimpses on the history of idiomaticity ..................................................... 16
Chapter 2 A Brief Overview of a Cognitive Approach to Idioms ......................... 25
2.1.The origin of the cognitive enterprise ................................................................ 25
2.1.1. The main tenets of the cognitive enterprise ............................................... 25
2.1.2. The main branches of the Cognitive Linguistics model ............................. 26
2.2.The cognitive approach to metaphors and its significance to idioms................. 27
2.3.Cognitive model: Making a difference ............................................................... 30
Chapter 3 A Cognitive Linguistics Approach to Teaching Idioms in an EFL
Context ........................................................................................................................ 32
3.1. Cognitive linguistics going applied .................................................................. 32
3.1.1. Metaphoric competence and EFL methodology ........................................ 33
3.1.2. Learning strategies and EFL methodology................................................. 34
3.1.3. Cognitive and learning styles in EFL methodology ................................... 36
3.2. From theory to practice ..................................................................................... 39
3.3. A Cognitive Linguistics-inspired teaching methodology for idioms ................ 41
3.3.1.Which idioms to include in the materials? Selection criteria ...................... 41
3.3.2. What kind of activities and materials should be used? ............................... 42
3.3.3. Is the age of the learners a significant parameter? .................................... 43
3.3.4. What is the right level? ............................................................................... 44
3.4. The rationale behind the lesson plan ................................................................. 44
3.4.1. Description of the tasks .............................................................................. 45
Chapter 4 Discussion, Implications and Limitations of the Study, Conclusion .. 48
4.1. Importance of the study ..................................................................................... 48

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A cognitive linguistic treatment of idiomaticity in an EFL context Vassiliki Geka

4.2. Suggestions for further research-Desiderata for a cognitive approach to idioms


.................................................................................................................................. 50
4.2.1. Implications for materials‘ design .............................................................. 50
4.2.2. Implications for test development .............................................................. 54
4.3. Limitations of the study-suggestions for future research .................................. 56
4.4. Conclusion ......................................................................................................... 58
References ................................................................................................................... 60
Appendices ................................................................................................................. 73
Appendix 1: Tables and Figures.............................................................................. 74
Appendix 2:A CL-inspired lesson plan ................................................................... 82
Appendix 3: Materials for the lesson plan .............................................................. 94
Appendix 3a: Worksheet A ..................................................................................... 95
Appendix 3b: Worksheet B ..................................................................................... 96
Appendix 3c: Worksheet C ..................................................................................... 97
Appendix 3d: Worksheet D ................................................................................... 100
Appendix 3e: Worksheet E .................................................................................... 101
Appendix 3f: Worksheet F .................................................................................... 102
Appendix 3g: Worksheet G ................................................................................... 103
Appendix 3h: Worksheet H .................................................................................. 104
Appendix 3i: Worksheet I ..................................................................................... 106
Appendix 4: Key to the tasks of the lesson plan ................................................... 107
Appendix 5: Abstract in Greek .............................................................................. 113

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TABLES AND FIGURES


Tables
Table 1: Parameters for defining idioms .................................................................. 13
Figures
Figure 1: The main branches of the orthodox/traditional approach to idioms ......... 20
Figure 2:The main branches of the compositional view ......................................... 22
Figure 3: Two different notions of compositionality ............................................... 23
Figure 4: A schematic representation of the main tenets and branches of the
cognitive linguistic model ........................................................................................ 27
Figure 5: The main pedagogical implications of a cognitive linguistic approach to
idiomaticity .............................................................................................................. 51
Appendices: ............................................................................................................. 73
Appendix 1: Tables and figures................................................................................ 74
Figure I: The components of communicative competence in Bachman‘s model . 75
Figure II: The direct strategies in Oxford's and Ehrman's taxonomy.................... 76
Figure III: The indirect strategies in Oxford's and Ehrman's taxonomy ............... 77
Figure IV: Contrasts on the two poles of the Field Independent (Analytic)- Field
Dependent (Concrete/Holistic dimension ................................................................ 78
Figure V: Kolb's experiential learning cycle and the interrelations of learning
styles ......................................................................................................................... 79
Figure VI: Kolb's learning styles presented as quadrants of the learning cycle ..... 79
Figure VII: Learners‘ notions and attitudes towards idiomaticity ......................... 80
Figure VIII: The components of the Task-based Learning framework.................. 81

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CHAPTER 1

INTRODUCTION

1.1. Aim of the study

Idioms undoubtedly constitute one of the most elusive, interesting and yet
perplexing areas in intercultural exchanges. Apparently, their difficulty in the
repertoire of any language arises- inter alia- from the fact that they are to a great
extent fixed expressions exhibiting syntactic and semantic frozenness, lack of
permutability and, most importantly, meaning obscurity. That is why more often than
not they constitute a really important part of foreign language learning that
necessitates a lot of effort, diligence and hard work on the part of the learner.
However, by casting a closer look at what lies behind idiomatic phrases one is bound
to discover a whole ―universe‖ of concepts in operation. It is exactly this conceptual
universe organised in systematic networks that this dissertation will attempt to
investigate within the framework of Cognitive Linguistics and in particular by
adopting a cognitive approach to idioms with the aim of informing teaching practices
expected to facilitate idiom comprehension and retention.

In other words, the present study, despite the undeniable difficulties and problems
that idioms pose, will investigate how they can be presented to learners within a
framework that caters for their idiosyncratic nature without presenting them as totally
arbitrary syntactic or semantic anomalies to be learnt by heart. On the contrary, it will
indicate that most idioms reveal aspects of the human conceptual system and are also
motivated parts of a systematic network. To this end, this dissertation will present
samples of activities aiming at idiom teaching within a framework of a complete
lesson plan formed on the basis of the principles of the cognitive approach to idioms.
Focusing thus on the pedagogical implications of this approach to idiomaticity, this
dissertation is expected to shed more light on teaching idioms from a cognitive
perspective. A perspective that to the best of my knowledge (and as is elsewhere
stated2 as well) the EFL literature has failed to benefit from with very few exceptions
like that of Kövecses and Szabó (1996).

2
Cameron and Low (1999: 77) stated that "Despite the work done on metaphors and idioms in the last
two decades, little has reached Applied Linguistics."

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But before proceeding to the main contribution of this dissertation, namely that of
exploring idiomaticity through the perspective of the cognitive approach and its
pedagogical implications in EFL contexts and materials‘ design let me delineate
briefly the structure of the study. Then I will proceed to analysing and defining the
concept of idiomaticity as well as discussing the main principles of a cognitive
approach to idiom teaching.

1.2.Structure of the Study

The study is divided into four chapters. Chapter one is devoted to a discussion of
the different definitions provided for idioms and idiomaticity while also investigating
the main features attributed to idioms. Its last part engages in a brief historical
overview that provides the readers with ―glimpses on the history of idiomaticity‖
(Kavka and Zybert, 2004: 54).
It is this last section of chapter one that paves the transition to chapter two that
engages in an analysis of the main tenets, branches and goals of Cognitive Linguistics
in general and the cognitive linguistic approach to idioms in particular. Chapter two
explains the theoretical underpinnings of this approach and aims at dissolving the
myth of arbitrariness that has surrounded idioms for such a long period of time. The
concepts of motivation and cognitive systematicity are also explored, adumbrating the
significance of the conceptual networking for idiomaticity in EFL contexts.
Chapter three is where the methodology behind the practical applications of the
cognitive linguistic model to idioms is described in detail, preparing the reader for the
sample lesson plan and the tasks designed. Methodological issues pertinent to the age,
level of proficiency, or the nature of the materials and the tasks are analysed in detail
with the aim of informing the reader of the methodological parameters that have to be
taken into account in a real EFL context which endorses a CL-inspired idiom
instruction.
Finally, chapter four is devoted to a critical appraisal of the whole study and its
implications as well as restrictions. In this chapter, I provide a list of potential areas
for future research and I state quite clearly that there are a lot of desiderata that the CL
approach has yet to fulfill in relation to Applied Linguistics. I also state that future
research in relation to the cognitive approach to idioms should be gauged towards the

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direction of materials‘ design and test development, with a heavy emphasis on the
former.

1.3.Defining Idiomaticity

Idiomaticity has been a notoriously difficult notion from which many language
experts have steered clear at all costs. I will therefore start by dealing with this
notoriously difficult concept by referring to the multiple names and different
definitions that scholars have endowed it with.

1.3.1 Idiomaticity: Towards a Definition…

Providing an exact definition of what idiomaticity might be appears to be a


rather daunting task. As Langlotz quite aptly mentions in his book Idiomatic
Creativity (2006: 1), "idioms are peculiar linguistic constructions that have raised
many eyebrows in linguistics and often confuse newcomers to a language." It is not
accidental, therefore, that while searching the relevant literature one is sure to be
baffled by the many terms used interchangeably for the study of idioms; starting with
idiomaticity, idiomatology, idiomatics or even phraseology to name but a few (Kavka
and Zybert, 2004). The so many labels assigned to idiomaticity, of course, are
certainly another type of evidence for the fact that there has always been a consensus,
albeit a tacit one, that although challenging, idioms cannot be dismissed frivolously
by any serious study of language simply because they are well entrenched in our
minds (Casas and Campoy, 1995).

Yet, despite the many labels assigned to the study of idioms, it would not be
an overstatement to say that comprehensive theories of idioms have been rather
scarce. This might be quite understandable, however, given the fact that
Structuralism- according to which idioms have an exocentric, marginal and most
importantly anomalous status in language- was the prevalent theory of language for
quite a long time.

Undoubtedly, idioms are not always amenable to structural or syntactic


manipulation and they certainly constitute an extremely problematic area to
accommodate for any theory of language. Nonetheless, there is just too much
idiomaticity in all language systems to simply ignore it or overlook it. This is also

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probably the reason why a number of distinguished scholars have attempted to


investigate the issue. Hockett, 1958; Malkiel, 1959; Katz and Postal, 1963; Chafe,
1968; Weinreich, 1969; 1972, Fraser, 1970; Makkai, 1972; Newmeyer, 1974; Glasser,
1980; Strassler, 1982 are just some examples serving to illustrate that idiomaticity has
repetitively been an issue of great concern or even a bone of contention for some
scholars. Highly reputable scholars have contributed their definitions of idiomaticity
that range significantly from Hockett‘s (1958) all-embracing approach 3 to less
encompassing theories conflating idioms with collocations. They all tend to agree,
however, that the meaning of an idiom cannot be deduced from the meaning of its
components. This contrast between the meaning of the whole idiom and the meaning
of its parts was especially underlined by A. Healey (1968: 71) who defined an idiom
as ―any group of words whose meaning cannot be deduced from the meanings of the
individual words‖. The idea that the meaning of an idiom is more than the sum of the
meaning of its constituents is a recurrent one whenever definitions have been ventured
by scholars. This holds true for both Weinreich (1972) and Cacciari and Tabossi
(1988). In fact, the latter, taking this feature of idioms into account, proposed the
following definition:

―Typically, an idiom is characterised as a string of words whose semantic interpretation cannot be


derived compositionally from the interpretation of its parts. Thus, idiomatic expressions defy the
standard view of language comprehension according to which understanding a sentence entails at least
recognizing the individual words in the sentence, retrieving their meanings from the mental lexicon and
combining them accordingly to their grammar relations‖ (ibid: 668).

Uriel Weinreich‘s (1972) contribution to idiomaticity, however, deserves a


closer look. He generally accepted that the meaning of an idiom cannot be derived
from the meaning of its elements but he claimed that an idiom is a subset of a
phraseological unit4. Nonetheless, his main contribution to idiom understanding has to
do with his emphasis on context. In his definitions of the phraseological unit and its
subset of idiom respectively, Weinreich states that in a phraseological unit a selection

3
Hockett (1958: 172): [The idiom is…] ―any Y in any occurrence in which it is not a constituent of a
larger Y‖, where Y is ―any grammatical form whose meaning is not deducible from its structure‖ and
"...An idiom is a grammatical form-single morpheme or composite form, the meaning of which is not
deducible from its structure".

4
Weinreich (1972: 89) views "idiomaticity ...as a phenomenon which may be described as the use of
segmentally complex expressions whose semantic structure is not deducible jointly from their syntactic
structure and the semantic structure of their components.‖

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of subsense is determined by context and also that in an idiom there is a reciprocal


contextual selection of subsenses. Of course, although the context can play a decisive
role in our understanding of idioms, we have all experienced cases whereby the
ambiguity of an idiomatic expression cannot be eliminated by/in context. Weinreich
himself does not ignore these potential cases of ambiguity but he postulates that when
we find ourselves before such instances of ambiguity that even the context fails to
decipher, then we find ourselves before ―genuine idioms‖.

Other scholars like Strassler (1982) chose to adopt a pragmatic view towards
idiomatic expressions and defined idiom as a functional element of language, namely
as a pragmatic phenomenon, i.e. something that can be judged by the point of view of
the language user.

These multiple definitions assigned to idioms serve as indicators of scholars‘


preoccupation with idiomaticity and their difficulty in creating a comprehensive
framework wherein idiomaticity could be accommodated and defined successfully.
Perhaps, Nunberg et al (1994) were quite successful after all when they argued that
"no precise definition of idiom is possible because idiom is a fuzzy category that is as
much defined by what is not5 an idiom as by what is."

As already mentioned, of course, this dissertation will investigate the issue of


idiomaticity from the perspective of Cognitive Linguistics that views idioms as
conceptual in nature. For the purposes of our discussion, I will adopt Langlotz‘s
(2006) working definition of what an idiom generally is:

―An idiom is an institutionalised construction that is composed of two or more lexical items
and has the composite structure of a phrase or semi-clause, which may feature constructional
idiosyncrasy. An idiom primarily has an ideational discourse-function and features figuration; i.e. its
semantic structure is derivationally non-compositional. Moreover, it is considerably fixed and
collocationally restricted.‖ (ibid: 5)

Rounding off the issue of defining idioms, what I will now turn to is a
categorisation of the different features of idioms that have been attributed to them by
different scholars.

5
My emphasis.

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1.3.2 The main characteristics attributed to idioms

Before presenting and delineating the different models to idiom


comprehension and processing, I will hereby try to make a brief reference to the
characteristics that have been attributed to idioms.

The difficulty in devising an accurate and successful definition of idioms, as


we already saw, arises from the special features that idioms demonstrate in relation to
their semantics, their syntax, their pragmatics and their structure. That is why any
definition should take into account the features and parameters presented in the
following table:

Parameters for Defining Idioms


Semiotic Dimension Feature Term
 Grammatical status Degree of Institutionalisation
conventionalisation or
familiarity
 Form Formal complexity of Compositeness
construction:
multiword unit
Lexicogrammatical
behaviour: restricted
Frozenness (also fixedness
syntactic,
or inflexibility)
morphosyntactic and
lexical variability
Paradigmatic
constraints on the
selection of lexical Restricted collocability
items
The presence of
idiosyncratic and
irregular lexical items
and grammatical Constructional Idiosyncrasy
patterns

 Meaning Meaning can be derived from Non-compositionality


constituent words but is
extended/figurative.

Table 1: Parameters for defining idioms (adapted by Langlotz 2006: 3).

Institutionalisation is used to capture the degree of conventionality of an idiom


within a specific language community and it was first coined by Fernando (1996:3).
Compositeness in its turn refers to the fact that idioms are multi-word units that are
composed of two or even more lexical constituents. Frozenness or

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fixedness/inflexibility (Fraser, 1970) on the other hand are used as generic terms
capturing lexicogrammatical restrictions influencing the variability (or lack of
variability) and the grammatical behaviour that the lexical constituents of idioms will
display. By and large, the potential flexibility of an idiom could be investigated by the
degree of syntactic modification that it can allow. Topicalisation, VP ellipsis and
prenominalisation experiments etc. might reveal a lot in relation to this feature6.

Barkema (1996) specifies that form-wise, idioms also exhibit restrictions on


the paradigmatic level of language that he chooses to define as restricted collocability
which in simple words suggests that a constituent of an idiom cannot be replaced by
other lexical items 7 . Finally, idioms sometimes contain unique lexical constituents
that make them constructionally idiosyncratic (Langlotz, 2006).8

Generally, the necessary feature that an idiom should display is that of


conventionality that may or may not be accompanied by other typical features such as
inflexibility, figuration, proverbiality, informality or affect (Langlotz, 2006; Croft and
Cruise, 2004). But what has been regarded as the primary feature of idioms is their
semantic non-compositionality which suggests that their meaning is not the
derivational sum of the meanings of their constituent parts 9. Nunberg et al (1994)
uphold that some idioms can exhibit syntactic and semantic compositionality,
although their semantics is by definition conventional. In such instances of idiomatic
expressions, a correspondence may be said to exist between the literal and the
figurative interpretations. The degree of compositionality in such cases will be
determined by the degree of freedom or boundedness that the individual components
will present. According to this viewpoint, idioms like ―pull strings‖ or ―spill the
beans‖ are compositional while ―kick the bucket‖ is non-compositional
(Antonopoulou, 2009-2010). The caveat that should be borne in mind in this case,
however, is that compositionality does not imply transparency since ―pull strings‖

6
For example, the idiom ―pull somebody‘s leg‖ allows for some syntactic freedom. (Example 1: “He is
in the business of pulling legs”→Tense, lexicalization of the possessive, gerundial construction or
“What John did was pull his sister’s leg”→Pseudoclefts with Prenominalisation) (The examples have
been selectively chosen or adapted from Antonopoulou, 2009-2010).
7
For instance, in the idiom: ―trip the light fantastic‖, the lexical item ―trip‖ cannot be substituted by
―walk‖ or ―play‖ as in ―*walk/play the light fantastic‖ because this would result in incoherence.
8
Langlotz (2006) mentions for instance that the idiom ―blow the gaff‖ is constructionally idiosyncratic
because it includes the unique lexical item ―gaff‖.
9
―The essential feature of an idiom is that its full meaning, and more generally the meaning of any
sentence containing an idiomatic stretch, is not the compositional function of the meaning of the
idiom‘s elementary parts.‖ (Katz and Postal, 1963: 275)

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and ―kick the bucket‖ would probably be equally opaque to an uninformed language
user. Opacity and transparency refer respectively to whether a language user is able to
recover the rationale for the figuration involved in an idiom; something that may
depend on the user‘s powers of imagination as well. Based on the degree of
transparency that idioms may display they can be classified into encoding or decoding
idioms (Fillmore et al., 1988). The former are defined by Croft and Cruise (2004: 231)
as ―interpretable by the standard rules for interpreting sentences but their meaning is
conventional/arbitrary‖. The latter are said not to be decoded by the hearer in the
sense that the hearer cannot comprehend the meaning of the whole from the meaning
of the parts. The distinction between encoding and decoding idioms presents a certain
resemblance with the distinction between idiomatically combining expressions and
idiomatic phrases that Nunberg et al (1994) have put forth.

Fillmore et al. (1988) have also characterised idioms as grammatical or


extragrammatical; the difference between the two being that the latter cannot be
parsed by the general syntactic rules of grammar (Croft and Cruise, 2004). Typical
examples of extragrammatical idioms are the following: ―by and large‖, ―battle
royal‖, ―No can do‖ etc. Their third way of dividing idioms is into formal/schematic
and substantive idioms. The first are lexically open idioms in which ―at least a part of
the idiom can be filled by the usual range of expressions that are syntactically and
semantically appropriate for the slot‖ (ibid: 233). Whilst the second are lexically filled
idioms in which all elements are fixed. The last distinction advocated by Fillmore et al
(1988) is the distinction between idioms with a pragmatic point and idioms without a
pragmatic point. ―Good morning‖ or ―See you later‖ would be typical examples of
idioms with a pragmatic point since they are used in specific contexts. Such a
distinction of idioms according to Croft and Cruise (op. cit) draws on the ―information
structure‖ or ―discourse‖ component and contextual properties of idioms that cannot
be predicted.

A final classification of idioms that is worth mentioning is Fillmore et al‘s


(1988) categorisation according to the features of a) lexical regularity, b) syntactic
regularity and c) semantic regularity. On the basis of these parameters, Fillmore et al
(op.cit) reach the following classification:

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 Unfamiliar pieces unfamiliarly arranged


Substantive: “kith and kin”
Schematic: “the + Comparative, the + Comparative”
 Familiar pieces unfamiliarly arranged
Substantive: “all of a sudden”
Schematic: “n-th cousin n-times removed”
 Familiar pieces familiarly arranged
Substantive: “pull someone’s leg”
Schematic: “watch me” (do something)10

Having referred to the different definitions of idioms and their main features
as put forth by various scholars, I will now focus on a categorisation of the main
approaches suggested for idioms. I wish to clarify, nonetheless, that this
categorisation is by no means exhaustive. It is simply indicative of the main
contributions (some of which were briefly mentioned before) made by certain scholars
and certain paradigms in the field of idiomaticity. Such a categorisation is expected to
assist us in understanding the shift that the cognitive approach has heralded and how
the entire approach can be juxtaposed to other theoretical frameworks.

1.3.3 Glimpses on the History of Idiomaticity11

Given the notoriously idiosyncratic and problem-generating nature of idioms,


one certainly feels the need to pay tribute to all those scholars that devoted their time,
hard work and research in attempting to define or analyse idioms. Therefore, in this
section I will try to offer ―glimpses‖ of the history of idiomaticity by dividing the
different theoretical accounts, proposals or models into the language paradigms they
belong to and the different time periods they were prominent in. For the sake of
clarity, the different views to idioms will also be presented schematically in
summarising figures.

The central debate around idioms may be said to "boil down to" whether
idioms can be attributed a motivated internal semantic structure that influences their
syntactic and lexical flexibility or whether they are completely arbitrary, irregular and

10
The examples have been selectively chosen or adapted from Antonopoulou (2009-2010).
11
This is also the original title of an article by Kavka and Zybert (2004).

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exceptional cases of languages. Consequently, these two opposing viewpoints have


given rise to disparate strands in approaching idioms12:

a) The traditional/orthodox view of idiom representation and processing: Idioms


should be viewed as essentially non-compositional, unanalysable and unmotivated
lexical units. Assigned the status of lexical units, they are therefore processed through
a direct lexical retrieval on the part of the language user.

b) The Compositional View: A significant number of idioms appears to exhibit an


internal, conceptually motivated semantic structure that renders them semantically
analysable. These kinds of idioms do not constitute semantic units and they can thus
be processed compositionally. Idiom variability corroborates and at the same time
reflects this internal semantic organisation of these constructions.

Here follows a brief presentation and classification of the different theories belonging
to each of the two strands respectively:

 1) The Orthodox View: Idioms as Semantic Units (This view is best exemplified by
early Transformational Generative13 accounts of the linguistic status of idioms 14 as
well as the psycholinguistic correlates of these approaches.)

A. TRANSFORMATIONAL GENERATIVE ACCOUNTS

 Idioms as Non-compositional Phrases

The generative treatment of idioms is decisively influenced by their


characterisation as semantically non-compositional strings. The latter should be seen
in relation to the concept of compositionality or rather the principle of
compositionality attributed to Frege (1950). As O‘ Grady et al. (1997: 260) suggest,
the principle of compositionality suggests that ―the meaning of a sentence is
determined by the meaning of its component parts and the manner in which they are
arranged in syntactic structure.‖ Therefore, in accordance with such a principle,
12
This categorisation is based on Langlotz's categorisation (2006: 15)
13
Hereafter referred to as TG.
14
These transformational generative frameworks are influenced by two central principles: a) the
meaning of a grammatical construction is seen as determined by the principle of compositionality and
b) syntax is regarded as the central component of linguistic structure. Given these principles, idioms,
which are commonly seen as semantically and syntactically idiosyncratic by definition, present a
stumbling block to the generative paradigm (Langlotz, 2006).

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idioms were regarded as linguistic expressions occupying an ―outlaw‖ position in


language.

Katz (1973: 358) for instance does not hesitate to state the following: ―Idioms are
the ‗exceptions to the rule‘: they do not get their meaning from the meaning of their
syntactic parts. If an idiom is treated as if it were compositional, false predictions are
made about its semantic properties and relations.‖

Based on this criterion of compositionality, early generativist idiom taxonomies


classified idioms into ―lexical‖ and ―phrase‖ idioms (Katz and Postal, 1963). The
former were thought to behave like ordinary lexical units and failed to present a
serious challenge to the generative theory. This did not hold true for the phrase idioms
such as shoot the breeze, spill the beans etc that exhibited a complex syntactic
structure that was patterned on a sentence level - although in a restricted manner15-
and prevented them from just being listed in the lexicon. This classification urged
Katz and Postal (1963) to split the lexicon into a lexical-item part and a phrase-idiom
part. Weinreich capitalised on this division and he assigned idioms to the lexical
component of the grammar while he decided to rename the phrase-idiom part into
“idiom list” (Weinreich, 1969: 57). In an attempt to integrate this list into the general
generative framework, he devised a matching procedure that he named ―the idiom
comparison rule‖. By doing that, he simply stressed even more the semantic
irregularity of idioms that, as postulated by the orthodox view, relegates them to the
position of irregular semantic units.

B. THE PSYCHOLINGUISTIC CORRELATES OF THE ORTHODOX


VIEW

 The Direct Look-up Models

The orthodox view to idioms as semantically non-compositional, complex phrases


is manifest in psycholinguistic models that treat idioms as word-like lexical units to
model idiom comprehension processes. That is why Glucksberg (1993: 4) names
these models ―direct look-up models‖. Within these models, Bobrow and Bells‘
(1973) psycholinguistic idiom-list hypothesis deserves special reference. According to

15
Fraser (1970) named this restricted syntactic manipulation frozenness while Weinreich (1972) opted
for the term transformational deficiency.

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this hypothesis, idioms are first interpreted literally and if this literal interpretation
does not contradict the context wherein the idiomatic string is found, then the
comprehension process of the idiom is said to be completed successfully. In case,
however, the literal interpretation is found to be ―contextually defective‖, the
idiomatic meaning is activated and processed by retrieving it from the mentally
represented idiom-list through direct look-up. Nonetheless, as Ortony et al. (1978)
mention, psycholinguistic time experiments were quick in depriving this theory of its
accolades as they proved that potentially ambiguous idioms were generally processed
faster when used idiomatically, whilst literal ones seemed to decelerate the processing
speed. 16 In other words, psycholinguistic measurements of processing indicated that
the figurative conception of idioms precedes the literal one. By extension this suggests
that idioms are in fact directly retrieved from memory before any literal
comprehension is both attempted and completed. These findings helped Gibbs (1980,
1985, 1986) in buttressing his direct-access theory.

Although the literal-first and the figurative-first models of idiom


comprehension and processing differ in their starting points significantly, in essence
they still share the same basic view as regards the mental status of idioms. They both
espouse the premise that idioms are semantic units and consequently they must be
attributed the psycholinguistic status of lexical items.

The configuration hypothesis offers a refined alternative to these direct-look


up models, without, however, adopting the semantic description to idioms (Cacciari
and Tabossi, 1988; Tabossi and Zardon, 1993, 1995). It claims that idioms constitute
complex arrangements of single words and are not stored as simple form-meaning
associations. The basic postulate of this model is that a language user will initiate
idiom processing only when the idiom at hand will be recognized as a configuration
that is to say a linguistic unit that is composed of simpler lexical elements. The trigger
that will signal the commencement of the processing according to this theory is called
―key‖. Every idiom is supposed to contain one or more such lexical ―keys‖ upon the
hearing of which, a hearer will evoke the idiomatic configuration as a whole and as a
result the idiomatic meaning of the expression will be activated. Before the hearing of
the key, the hearer attempts to interpret the idiomatic string according to its literal

16
(Swiney and Cutler, 1979; Estill and Kemper, 1982; Glass, 1983; Gibbs and Gonzales, 1985,
Schweigert, 1992; Mcglone et al., 1994).

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meaning. Yet, as soon as the key is recognized, the idiomatic meaning can be
activated. It is only rational therefore that what plays a decisive role is the position of
the key that will signal the switch from the literal to metaphorical meaning17. A final
point that should be mentioned in relation to this model is that it claims that the literal
meaning is only pushed to the ground so that the idiomatic meaning will become more
prevalent, but it is not suppressed. It is exactly this point that allows us to conclude
that in reality the configuration hypothesis occupies an intermediary position in-
between the literal-first and the figurative-first hypothesis (Langlotz, 2006).

So, schematically the Orthodox/Traditional view seems to be divided into the


following branches:

Figure 1: The main branches of the orthodox/traditional approach to idioms.

 2) The Compositional View

Scholars like Nunberg (1978), Wasow et al (1983) and Gazdar et al (1985)


vehemently attack and criticise the generative conception of idioms as non-
compositional semantic units and offer an alternative conception which gives credit to
the semantic characterization of idiomaticity.

17
For example, in the proverbial idiom ―When in Rome do as the Romans do”, as soon as someone
hears the word ―Rome‖, s/he will be able to evoke the idiom. This is so because the word ―Rome‖
functions as the key of this idiomatic configuration.

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Nunberg et al‘s critique addresses mainly the syntactic arguments of the


generative paradigm that provide support to the semantic-unity view. To this end,
these scholars provide a more precise description of idiom semantics refusing to
accept the view of idioms as non-compositional semantic units on the grounds of its
being extremely simplistic. Their counterproposal is a different definition of
compositionality which has to do with ―whether a native speaker would recover the
sense of an idiom on hearing it in an ‗uninformative context‘‖ (Nunberg et
al.1994:495). Their findings point out that when an idiom appears in a usage-context,
then it is usually fully understandable. On the basis of these findings, Nunberg et al
refuse the simplistic equation of the semantic structure of idioms with bottom-up non-
compositionality that was upheld by the generative models. They therefore argue in
favour of a top-down analysability and in favour of semantically compositional
idioms. In fact, they use the term ―idiomatically combining expressions‖ to refer to
semantically compositional idiom. They claim that ―…to say that an idiom is an
idiomatically combining expression is to say that the conventional mapping from
literal to idiomatic interpretation is homomorphic with respect to certain properties of
the interpretation of the idiom‘s components‖(Nunberg et al 1994: 496). Of course,
they stress that not all idioms can be described as idiomatically combining
expressions and they place these idioms in the category of what they call idiomatic
phrases.

In a nutshell, Nunberg et al‘s theoretical framework rejects the semantic unity


view proposed by generative accounts. Introducing thus the division between
semantically compositional idiomatically-combining expressions (idioms where parts
of the idiomatic meaning can be put in correspondence with parts of the literal
meaning e.g. ―answer the door‖) and semantically non-compositional idiomatic-
phrases (no correspondences can be established in these idioms e.g. ―shoot the
breeze‖), they were able to account for the syntactic variability that such constructions
exhibit.

The compositional view did not manage to escape criticism and its suggestions
have been disputed by a number of scholars (Schenk, 1995; Nicolas, 1995; Abeille,
1995 etc).

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 The psycholinguistic correlates of the compositional view

After Nunberg‘s (1978) classification of idioms, Gibbs and Nayak (1989) put forward
their decomposition hypothesis. Following the compositional view of idioms, the
decomposition hypothesis argues that a significant number of idioms ―are
semantically decomposable or analyzable with the specific meanings of their parts
contributing independently to their overall figurative meanings‖ (Langlotz, 2006: 36).
Indeed, as certain experiments of comprehension speed suggest, language users try to
subject idioms to a compositional analysis while attempting to understand them and
they generally tend to take more time when dealing with non-decomposable idiomatic
expressions, whilst decomposable idioms seem to be processed more rapidly because
they function as linguistic units that can be produced and comprehended in terms of
semantic (de)composition.

So, in summation, the branches of the Compositional View may be


schematically presented as follows:

The Compositional
View

Division between:
Semantically Psycholinguistic
Compositional Correlates of the
Idiomatic Compositional View
Expressions and
Semantically Non-
Compositional
Idiomatic The
Expressions Decomposition
Hypothesis

Figure 2: The main branches of the compositional view.

Before bringing this section to an end, let me clarify that although the
decomposition hypothesis seems to be quite close to the configuration hypothesis,
there is a marked difference between the two. The former focuses on the possibility
of a structured relationship between the overall idiomatic meaning and the literal
meaning of their constituents, while the latter underscores the great importance
assigned to the meaning of the constituents for idiom comprehension processes. The

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two models, therefore, choose to highlight two alternative types of compositionality,


namely the literal compositionality (idioms as word configurations) and figurative-
literal decomposition (idioms constituting analysable linguistic strings).
Schematically, thus, the concept of compositionality within these two models is
treated as Figure 3 shows:

IDIOM
COMPOSITIONALITY

The Configuration The Decomposition


Hypothesis: idioms as Hypothesis: idioms as
word configurations analysable linguistic
strings

Figure 3: Two different notions of compositionality

Finally, there is also a hybrid view of idiom processing which was endorsed by
proponents of simultaneous processing models (Gibbs, 1990; Schweigert, 1992). This
view suggests that the literal and the figurative interpretation of an idiom are
processed in tandem. Another more sophisticated version of this view, attempting to
combine the decomposition and the configuration hypothesis, was put forth by Titone
and Connine (1999) who argue that both the compositional and the non-compositional
views of idioms are problematic when seen in isolation. Hence, mixing them up and
producing a hybrid approach to idiom representation and processing that views idioms
as stored both in the form of unitary words and in the form of compositional word
sequences seemed ideal to them.

Having entertained these ―glimpses‖ in the history of idiomaticity, one might still be
wondering what else another theory of idioms could add, change, or improve. This is
exactly where the cognitive approach to idioms comes to the fore. All theories
delineated above have attempted to explain how idioms are processed or understood

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in rather mechanistic ways considering idioms as more or less inconvenient and


uncomfortable cases for any theoretical framework of language, that have to be
accommodated nonetheless. Also, none of these theories investigated idioms through
the perspective of teaching with the view of informing teaching practices and
replacing the rote learning typically associated with idioms with a more convenient
teaching. This might be the case because none of these theories saw much else in
idioms apart from syntactic or semantic irregularities that were processed figuratively-
first, literally-first, or simultaneously.

This is one of the major blind spots that a cognitive approach to idioms can
address by introducing concepts like motivation, which will distinguish it from other
approaches that overlook the fact that a great number of idioms is indeed conceptually
motivated. In the following section, I will thus focus on a) what a cognitive approach
to idioms actually is and b) how it stands out from the other models by allowing a
pedagogical orientation to idiom teaching.

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CHAPTER 2

A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF A COGNITIVE APPROACH TO IDIOMS

2.1. The Origin of the Cognitive Enterprise

Cognitive Linguistics is a relatively recent model of linguistic thought and


practice concerned with the interrelationship between the human language, the mind
and the socio-physical experience. It initially emerged in the 1970s as a direct result
of the dissatisfaction with formal approaches to language that were dominant at that
time. With proponents like Fillmore (1988), Lakoff and Thompson (1975), Lagnacker
(1987) or Rosch (1975), Cognitive Linguistics has had a longstanding influence and
grew out to be an influencing model of linguistic thought in the early 1990s. Since
then, there has been an escalating proliferation of research towards its direction all
over the world. It was this growing interest that led in 1989 to the foundation of the
International Cognitive Linguistics Association and heralded the official birth of the
Cognitive Linguistic model (Evans et al, 2006).

The Cognitive Linguistics enterprise may be said to be roughly divided into


two main branches, namely the Cognitive Semantics and the Cognitive Approaches to
Grammar characterised by two fundamental commitments; the generalisation
commitment and the cognitive commitment (Lakoff, 1990).

2.1.1 The Main Tenets of the Cognitive Enterprise

The generalisation commitment refers to the cognitive linguists‘ preoccupation


with generalising their principles so that all aspects of language can be accounted for.
In contrast to this mode of theorising, other models, falling within the paradigm of
formal linguistics mainly, (Chomsky 1965, 1981, 1995) preferred the segmentation
and modularisation of the language faculty into distinct areas (e.g. phonology,
semantics etc.). In lieu of such a modular approach, Cognitive Linguistics, drawing on
its generalisation commitment, seeks to investigate how the various aspects of
language actually emerge from a common set of human cognitive abilities.

The cognitive commitment on the other hand represents a commitment to


characterising the general principles of language in accordance with what is known
about the mind and brain. It is this commitment that highlights both the cognitive (as

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its name suggests) and the interdisciplinary dimension of this model. In other words,
the cognitive commitment represents the view that the principles of linguistic
structure should reflect what is known about human cognition from the other
cognitive and brain sciences, especially psychology, cognitive neuroscience, artificial
intelligence, and philosophy. Consequently, all the theoretical models within the
framework of Cognitive Linguistics avoid including structures or processes that
violate known properties of the human cognitive system.

2.1.2 The Main Branches of the Cognitive Linguistics Model

Having referred briefly to the two main commitments of the Cognitive


Linguistics model, let me now turn to the two main branches of this model starting
with cognitive semantics. Cognitive semantics is mainly concerned with exploring the
interrelationship between experience, the conceptual system and the semantic
structure encoded by language. More specifically, scholars working within cognitive
semantics investigate knowledge representation (conceptual structure) and meaning
construction (conceptualisation) (Evans et al, 2006). To this end, they are using
language as the ―lens‖ through which cognitive phenomena could be investigated.
Cognitive semantics has interestingly managed to establish itself as an alternative
philosophical trend, designated best by the name experiential realism that adopts a
stance towards language as being a part of general cognition (Marmaridou 2000). In
essence, this means, as Marmaridou (ibid: 5) has stated, that cognitive semantics
―aims to explain how language is systematically grounded in human condition‖ by
seeing language not as ―a representation of objectively existing reality, but of reality
as it is perceived and experienced by human beings‖ (ibid: 5). The goal of cognitive
approaches to grammar is to model the language system (i.e. the mental grammar)
rather than the nature of mind per se by taking into consideration the findings of
cognitive semantics. This branch is mainly interested in studying the cognitive
principles that give rise to linguistic organisation and in providing a broad-ranging
inventory of the units of language (from morphemes to words, idioms and phrasal
patterns) seeking accounts of their structure, compositional possibilities and relations.
The central postulate of this branch is that the basic unit of language is a form-
meaning pairing known as a symbolic assembly, or a construction (Fillmore et al.,
1988; Kay and Fillmore, 1998; Goldberg 1995, 2003). Thus, schematically, the main
tenets and branches of Cognitive Linguistics may be presented as follows:

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Cognitive
Linguistics

Two Main Two Main


Commitments Branches

The Cognitive Cognitive Semantics:


The Generalisation Commitment: The general studies the Cognitive Approaches to
Commitment: All aspects principles of language interrelationship between Grammar: provide a broad
of language should be should be in accordance experience, the conceptual ranging inventory of the
accounted for; no with what is known about system and the semantic units of language.
modularisation. the human mind and brain. structure.

Figure 4: A schematic representation of the main tenets and branches of the cognitive linguistic model.

Hoping that this rather sketchy outline of Cognitive Linguistics has


adequately paved the way for what is to follow in this dissertation, I would like to
engage now in a presentation of the cognitive theory of metaphor (henceforth referred
to as CTM) that has provided the main theoretical underpinnings for the analysis of
idioms within the Cognitive Linguistics paradigm. But apart from the fact that CTM
with its inspirational insights has shed new light into idiom comprehension, it has also
provided us with valuable contributions from a teaching-pedagogical perspective as it
has sparked off a completely new approach to the teaching of idioms within EFL
contexts.

2.2. The Cognitive Approach to Metaphor and its Significance to Idioms

As it has been noted, the basic hypothesis entertained in this dissertation is that
a large number of idioms can be attributed a figurative semantic structure that is
motivated and analysable. That is to say that idioms cannot be described as simple,
arbitrary, word-like lexical units that can be accounted for in terms of an autonomous
lexical representation or a direct lexical retrieval. Rather, idioms appear to present

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systematicity, network interconnections, as well as a coherently-shaped and motivated


semantics.

The notion of motivation is perhaps what should immediately attract our


attention as regards the treatment of idioms within the cognitive linguistics paradigm.
Motivation as Langlotz (2006: 45) states ―refers to a speaker‘s ability to make sense
of an idiomatic expression by reactivating or remotivating their figurativity, i.e. to
understand why the idiom has the idiomatic meaning it has with a view to its literal
meaning‖. It is this concept of motivation that primarily distinguishes this model from
others that relegated idioms to the position of mere items of the lexicon that were
completely independent of any conceptual system. Swimming against the tide and
striving to prove that idioms are far from arbitrary, cognitive linguists and among
them Lakoff and Johnson (1980) were the first to stress the concept of idiom
motivation on the basis of conceptual metaphors. In their seminal book Metaphors We
Live By, they define metaphor as a conceptual mechanism with the help of which one
relatively concrete experiential domain (called Source Domain) is partially mapped
onto a different relatively abstract experiential domain (called Target Domain), so that
the second is understood in terms of the first one. Consequently, within the framework
of Cognitive Linguistics, metaphors are seen as properties of the human mind or
rather as cognitive phenomena that simply surface in language through different
linguistic or idiomatic expressions. Up until then, however, metaphors were thought
of as imaginative and creative linguistic expressions used to enhance poetry, literary
texts or rhetorical language. So, it was with the advent of the cognitive approach to
language that metaphors started to be recognised as linguistic, conceptual, neural,
bodily, and social all at the same time, in the same vein that idioms are or at least can
be, as will be subsequently shown.

This by extension means, that the starting point of idioms is the conceptual
network in language users‘ minds rather than the realm of language. The direct
repercussion of this position is that a significant number of idioms are motivated,
deeply entrenched in our minds, far from isolated, and as a matter of fact well
systematised in the networks of conceptual metaphors that generate them in the first
place. Lagnacker (1987: 25), will even state about idioms that: ―To regard an idiom as
opaque or as primarily a fixed phrase is [...] simplistic. It is more accurately seen as a

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complex of semantic and symbolic relationships that have become conventionalized


and have coalesced into an established configuration‖.

On the basis of this analysis, Cognitive Linguistics endorsed a view of idioms


as products of our conceptual system, not as expressions that have a certain meaning
on the basis of their constituent parts. Idiomatic meaning was thus defined as
essentially conceptual in nature, based on the correspondences between the two
domains of experience involved in conceptual metaphors. But how exactly can
conceptual metaphors provide semantic motivation for the occurrence of particular
words in idioms?

To answer this question let me very briefly comment on a few rudimentary


concepts about metaphors. With relation to their cognitive function, conceptual
metaphors have been divided into three types: a) structural metaphors, b) ontological
metaphors and c) orientational metaphors (Kövecses, 2002: 32-33). Briefly,
structural metaphors are a way of understanding a typically abstract concept in terms
of another typically concrete concept. An orientational metaphor has to do with
concepts that are spatially related to each other through an upward-downward, inside-
outside orientation18 etc. Finally, the function of ontological metaphors is to represent
an abstraction, such as an activity, emotion, or idea as something concrete, by
assigning it a specific status like the status of an object, substance, or container etc.
All of these types are pertinent to my discussion of idioms since they all have the
potential to give rise to idiomatic expressions as research has shown. For instance, the
idioms ―to be feeling down‖ and ―to be in high spirits‖ - one being the exact opposite
of the other -seem to be motivated by the orientational metaphors HAPPY IS UP and
SAD IS DOWN.

In fact, Kövecses and Szabό (1996) provide a number of different examples of


idiomatic expressions motivated by conceptual metaphors or other cognitive
19
mechanisms. Exploiting the productivity of the target domain of emotions – the
perhaps par excellence abstract domain that requires the import of structure from a
concrete one- they engage in analysing how idioms can actually prove to be
18
The spatial dimensions involved in orientational metaphors are the following: up or down , in or out,
front or back, on or off , deep or shallow , central or peripheral.
19
It has to be mentioned that Kövecses and Szabό (1996) state that apart from conceptual metaphors,
the cognitive mechanisms of metonymy and conventional knowledge are also at work in the motivation
of idioms.

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cognitively motivated. To mention but a few, they examine how the conceptual
metaphor ANGER IS FIRE (or its second version ANGER IS A HOT FLUID IN A
CONTAINER) gives rise to the following idiomatic expressions:

After the row, he was spitting fire.


Smoke was coming out of his ears.
He is smoldering with anger.
She was fuming.
Boy, am I burned up! Etc

By this and similar groupings of idiomatic expressions on the basis of


metaphors or other cognitive mechanisms, they provide evidence for what Langlotz
(2006: 135) will quite aptly state ten years later: “idioms constitute conceptual
routines that are evoked to group a target-scene relative to an alternative source-
scene”.

Bringing this section to a close, I will now focus on the achievements of the
Cognitive Linguistics enterprise that set it apart from other models of thought and that
are also of great interest to us in relation to the teaching of idioms.

2.3. Cognitive Model: Making a Difference

The final section of this chapter will be devoted to reviewing the most
significant achievements of the cognitive model that in one way or another have also
had considerable influences on the treatment of idioms within the cognitive paradigm.
If one was to prepare a brief but comprehensive account of these, s/he should ideally
include the following:

 An integrated view of language and thought (this is fairly evident by the fact
that Cognitive Linguistics probes into the interrelationship of language and
thought and seeks to provide cognitive evidence for what in the past has been
viewed as purely linguistic).
 Integration of formalist and functionalist concerns (Cognitive Linguistics is
without doubt functionalist in spirit since it is interested in exploring the
social and communicative functions of situated language use. But it also

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espouses formalist concerns as it is interested in developing adequate


accounts of linguistic phenomena by modeling the representation of the
knowledge of language in the human mind (Evans et al, 2006).
 Providing motivation and advocating systematicity for what other paradigms
have dismissed as arbitrary. (Idioms and by extension metaphors, are the par
excellence candidates in this case. Going against the current of the dominant
linguistic view, cognitive linguists advocated the existence of motivation and
systematicity that opposed the concept of arbitrariness typically assigned to
idioms.)

The last point of motivation will be shown to be significant for the teaching of
idioms to L2 learners as I shall explain promptly.

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CHAPTER 3: A COGNITIVE LINGUISTICS APPROACH TO TEACHING


IDIOMS IN AN EFL CONTEXT

3.1. Cognitive Linguistics Going Applied…

So far, my intention has been to provide a broad but - hopefully- adequate


overview of the different approaches to idiomaticity followed by an emphasis on the
cognitive approach to idioms that has triggered this master thesis. Now, however, my
focus will be shifted to the ultimate goal of this dissertation, namely the connection of
EFL didactics with a Cognitive Linguistics approach to idioms. This is so because
idioms have been regarded as a thorny issue in foreign language teaching contexts.
Being considered as unsystematic parts of the lexicon (Sornig, 1988), idioms have
posed problems not only in relation to teaching but also in relation to materials'
design. As Ponterotto (1994) has stated, most EFL textbooks skirt the issue of
figurativeness involved in idioms and present them as exceptions to the rule to be
memorised and used only in certain - usually informal only - contexts.

Treating idiomaticity, however, in a CL -inspired way has provided evidence


to the contrary; not only in relation to the teaching of idioms but also in relation to
students' effective comprehension of idioms and their maximised retention in learners‘
memory (Kövecses, 2002). Although further research and empirical tests-particularly
from the field of EFL- are always more than welcome and can shed more light in this
direction, the experiments conducted by cognitive linguists are overall encouraging
towards a CL-based idiom instruction in EFL contexts (Kövecses and Szabό, 1996;
Stahl, 1999; Irujo, 1984; Blachowicz and Fisher, 1996, Bromley, 1984; Boers, 1999,
2000a, 2000b; Lazar, 1996; Littlemore, 2001a). Evidently, there is an ongoing process
of thinking and rethinking the ways in which a cognitive model could be applied in
the teaching of idioms as well as a process of empirically testing its theoretically-
argued merits, e.g. the long-lasting memory storage of idioms when presented in a
CL-based framework.

The crucial question that arises from all the above is in what respect exactly
Cognitive Linguistics can be related to EFL didactics generally and to idioms‘
instruction specifically. Admittedly, the research conducted on the pedagogical
significance and implications of Cognitive Linguistics in EFL contexts is rather
limited. So, to answer the above question, I should probably start by referring to the

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concept of metaphoric competence that lies in the heart of the cognitive approach to
idioms and how that relates to the different cognitive styles and strategies that learners
might exhibit. For as most EFL literature has indicated, competencies, strategies and
learning or cognitive styles are of paramount importance for effective teaching and
learning in general. Therefore, my points of focus illustrating the profound
relationship between EFL methodological matters and Cognitive Linguistics will be
the following:

Communicative competence and the component of metaphoric


competence
Learning strategies: cognitive and metacognitive strategies and
motivation
Learning and cognitive styles of learners

3.1.1 Metaphoric Competence and EFL Methodology

Communicative competence, a term first coined by the American sociolinguist


Dell Hymes (1972), is a key notion in EFL methodology that postulates that effective
communication in a second language will be the result of a speaker‘s ability to use
language appropriately in a given situational context. Such a competence is said to
entail therefore knowledge of both the rules of a language as a code and the rules of
use of the code as established within social groups. This initial, revolutionary at its
time, discussion about communicative competence in the field of Applied Linguistics
was taken up by a number of scholars, among them Canale and Swain (1980) and
more recently Bachman (1990: 81-100)20. It is the latter‘s model of competencies that
will attract our attention since Bachman was quick to mention that the notion of
communicative competence should reserve a special place among the rest of its
components for the interpretation of figurative language that was listed under the
sociolinguistic component of the communicative competence. This kind of
competence was named by Danesi (1986: 3) metaphoric competence.

In relation to metaphoric competence, Danesi stated that ―the true indication


that a learner has achieved mastery in a foreign language is his/her ability to

20
For a schematic representation of Bachman‘s model of communicative competence, please see
Appendix of this work on p.75.

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A cognitive linguistic treatment of idiomaticity in an EFL context Vassiliki Geka

metaphorise21‖. Furthermore, he concluded that figurative knowledge should be at the


heart of any learning material aiming at developing learners‘ communicative
proficiency and competence (Danesi, 1986: 9, 1992: 193). Littlemore (2001b) and
Littlemore and Low (2006: 279) also noted that ―effective communication in a second
language involves the ability to use metaphors‖; metaphor being, of course, as
explained above, the central cognitive mechanism behind the motivation of a large
number of idioms. Bearing in mind that communicative competence is a sine qua non
that functions as the main driving force of almost all contemporary EFL
methodological frameworks, recognising metaphoric competence as a component of
communicative competence serves to emphasise that there is yet another link among
EFL didactics, Cognitive Linguistics, and the teaching of idiomaticity and figurative
language in particular.

3.1.2 Learning Strategies and EFL Methodology

One of the main objectives of education today is to assist learners in


becoming independent and autonomous. Learners‘ autonomy in learning is shaped by
the cognitive and metacognitive strategies they use. So, let me start by defining
strategies and referring to one way of classifying them.

Although there seems to be no consensus on an exact definition of strategies


or on their exact number, they should generally be understood as what helps students
transform the comprehensible input (what the teacher (or environment) generally
sends out) provided into comprehensible intake (what the student actually takes in and
stores after deep processing). An interesting definition of strategies, although not
agreed upon by all experts, seems to be the following one that views strategies as:

―any set of operations, steps, plans, routines used by the learner to facilitate the obtaining, storage,
retrieval and use of information, … that is, what learners do to learn and do to regulate their learning‖
(Rubin, 1987: 19 as cited in Hedge, 2000: 77).

So, strategies have been divided by scholars into different kinds of taxonomies
but the taxonomy that will be of interest to this thesis is the one put forth by Oxford
and Ehrman (1990)22. According to them, strategies might or might not be conscious
steps or behaviours adopted by learners that are generally divided into two broad

21
My emphasis.
22
Please, see Appendix pages 76-77.

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categories; the direct and the indirect strategies. Direct strategies are those behaviours
involving direct use of language and they include three main subtypes of strategies,
namely a) the memory strategies (for storing information in memory and retrieving it),
b) the cognitive strategies (for manipulating language for both meaning reception and
meaning production purposes) and c) the compensation strategies for overcoming
limitations in learners‘ existing knowledge. Indirect strategies, in their turn, support
language learning although they do not directly involve use of the language per se;
they rather deal with organising the language learning process (Oxford and Ehrman,
1990). Indirect strategies include a) the metacognitive strategies (used for organising
and evaluating learning) 23 , b) the affective strategies (for managing emotions and
attitudes involved in the learning process) and c) the social strategies (that are related
to learning with others). My emphasis in this paper on tasks and materials based on a
cognitive linguistic approach to idioms has interestingly been found to relate to the
development of learners‘ strategic action and in particular to the development of the
cognitive and metacognitive strategies. These two include basic but also complex sub-
strategies for information processing like rehearsal, elaboration, organisation,
24
deductive reasoning and critical thinking (cognitive strategies) or planning,
monitoring and regulating that assist learners in the control and regulation of
cognition (metacognitive strategies) (Pintrich, Smith, Garcia and McKeachie, 1991).

Boers (2004) was among the first to refer to the enhancement of strategies as
a result of learners‘ exposure to the cognitive approach to idioms. Without a doubt,
such a correlation between the cognitive approach to idioms and the development of
strategic action brings to the surface another under-researched area of interconnection
between the Cognitive Linguistics and central notions of EFL literature. By
introducing learners to the cognitive approach to idioms, we are providing them with
one more useful cognitive strategy for organising the idiomatic expressions presented
to them by a) tracing them back to the metaphors that motivated them and b) by
grouping idioms under certain conceptual metaphors. Grouping idioms (Skoufaki,
23
Metacognition and metacognitive strategies in general are claimed to be the key to self-regulated, as
autonomous learning according to research, seems to be based on the strategic action, metacognition
and learner motivation present in learners (e.g. Bin, 2008; Boekaerts, 1999; Moschner, 2007; Winne
and Perry, 2000).
24
As Schmeck, Geisler-Brenstein and Cercy (1991) have remarked ―cognitive strategies include both
practice and what can be called ‗deep processing‘ which involves a constant analysis, synthesis, and a
continuous development and adjustment of schemata.‖

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2008) and trying to make informed guesses about their meaning undoubtedly requires
cognitive effort and learners‘ problem-solving skills (Boers, 2004). Thus, greater
cognitive processing is requested on the part of the learner and by extension activation
of direct and indirect strategies as defined and classified by Oxford and Ehrman
(1990)25. Activating strategies might also facilitate the easier retrieval of idioms and
maximise the mnemonic benefits of deep processing. What is also worth commenting
on is that as mentioned, strategic action aims at instilling in learners the values and
principles of autonomous, self-directed learning that they will resort to on their own
without the educator‘s prodding26. Consequently, if learners are familiarised with the
cognitive mechanism of metaphor that motivates certain idioms, then they might be
able to resort to this deep processing (which actually depends on cognitive strategy as
I explained) again when presented with new idioms.

Lastly, this may also increase their motivation in their EFL studies in general
as it will decrease significantly the heavy memorisation demands that learners have
been accustomed to by the traditional model to idioms‘ teaching. As we shall see,
however, in the last section devoted to the desiderata of a unified research perspective
between CL and EFL research, this kind of reasoning needs to be buttressed and
supported by empirical evidence which has not been provided yet.

3.1.3. Cognitive and Learning Styles in EFL Methodology

Let me now focus on the importance of employing Cognitive Linguistics when


teaching idioms through the lens of cognitive and learning styles as established and
analysed in the pertinent EFL literature. Learning style is a broad term covering
different patterns of mental functioning and dealing with new information that
learners exhibit (Lawrence, 1984). When analysed from a cognition-centred
approach27, learning styles are renamed into cognitive styles that refer to the ways in
which individuals acquire knowledge (cognition) and process information
(conceptualisation). It was Witkin et al. (1962), and Witkin and Goodenough (1977)

25
Please, see Appendix p.76-77 for an analysis of the taxonomy proposed by Ehrman and Oxford
(1990).
26
―Students are self-regulated to the degree that they are metacognitively, motivationally and
behaviourally active participants in their own learning process‖ (Zimmerman, 2001: 5).
27
"There are three distinct traditions of style-based work in psychology: a) the cognition-centred
approach, b) the personality-centred approach, and c) the activity-centred approach." (Grigerenko and
Sterberg, 1995: 207). For the purposes of our discussion, I will focus on the cognition-centred approach
that focuses upon cognitive and perceptual functioning.

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who introduced the term ―cognitive style‖ in an attempt to describe the different,
consistent stylistic preferences that individuals exhibit when organising stimuli and
constructing meaning. Cognitive styles are in simple words related to mental
behaviours that individuals apply habitually when they engage in solving problems or
dealing with demanding tasks. By and large, they reflect the stable and persistent
personality dimension of individuals that influences greatly their attitudes, values and
mode of social interaction (Uto, 1994). Naturally, however, not everyone fits neatly in
one or another of these styles to the exclusion of the other, parallel styles. On the
contrary, learners seem to partake to a lesser or greater extent of a number of different
styles but they tend to manifest rather consistent cognitive styles across different tasks
and over long periods of time (Guilford, 1967; Pask, 1988).

As Boers and Littlemore (2000) mention, psychologists have identified –and


continue to identify- a number of cognitive styles28 (e.g. Bever, 1975; Holyoak, 1984;
Schmeck, 1988; Witkin and Goodenough, 1977, 1981). This means that there are
different taxonomies and different models put forth. Interestingly enough, all of them
tend to agree upon a representation of cognitive styles in terms of continua (Moran,
1991). I am only en passant referring to the general framework of cognitive and
learning styles that in the EFL literature occupies a prevalent position in order to
emphasise two dominant continua of cognitive styles that are particularly interesting
in relation to the cognitive linguistic approach to idioms. As Riding and Cheema
(1991) have quite persuasively argued, there are two principal, superordinate
cognitive style continua, namely the analytic/holistic continuum and the
verbaliser/imager continuum.

The analytic/holistic cognitive style continuum (Bever, 1975; Brumby, 1982;


Kirby, 1988) has been found to relate to a learner‘s tendency to process information
either as separate, segmented parts or as large integrated chunks in an undividable
whole. This in essence means that a learner favouring a holistic cognitive style, once
confronted with a particular task, will study the whole picture. On the other hand, a
learner exhibiting an analytic cognitive style will prefer to focus on the separate parts
of the problem (cf. Oxford and Anderson, 1995: 204). The verbaliser/imager

28
Please, see Appendix pages 78-79 for more information on learning styles.

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A cognitive linguistic treatment of idiomaticity in an EFL context Vassiliki Geka

continuum refers to a subject‘s preference of thinking either in words or in pictures


(e.g. Paivio and Harshman 1983).

According to Boer‘s and Littlemore‘s (2000) experiment, these two continua


appear to have a profound effect on the way individuals process metaphors and most
importantly idiomatic or figurative language in general. The results of the experiment
conducted indicated that the analytic participants were best at tracing the conceptual
metaphor motivating an idiomatic expression or a metaphor per se back to its source
domain. They were also able to distinguish quite clearly the literal from the figurative
use of language.

Holistic participants had greater difficulty in identifying the metaphor and by


extension the source domain of the specific metaphor motivating the idiomatic
expression in question. In fact, they were likely to blend their conception of different
domains without making a clear-cut distinction between the figurative and the literal
language employed in the experiment.

Finally, with reference to the imager/verbaliser continuum, the findings


indicated that imagers were more likely to explain the metaphors motivating the
figurative language presented by referring to concrete scenes, unlike verbalisers who
faced greater difficulties. These findings are important for the EFL teacher seeking to
employ the cognitive linguistic approach to idioms in different ways. For instance, the
teaching/learning materials designed should try to accommodate these different
cognitive styles by bearing in mind that analytic and imager learners might be more
―susceptible‖ to this method of instruction than others.

What I would like to stress by bringing this brief reference to learning styles to
a close is that perhaps investigating Kolb's (1984) experiential learning model and his
analysis of learning styles in his seminal book Learning Styles Inventory (1976) might
also be interesting for exploring the correlations between the cognitive linguistic
approach to idioms and learning styles. Kolb's learning styles' theory suggests that
there is a four-stage learning cycle composed of four distinct learning styles in which
"immediate or concrete experiences" provide "a basis for observation or reflection"
(Kolb, 1984). These observations are then assimilated and distilled into "abstract
concepts" producing new implications which can be actively tested, resulting perhaps
in new experiences. Kolb's learning styles are named Diverging, Assimilating,

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A cognitive linguistic treatment of idiomaticity in an EFL context Vassiliki Geka

Converging and Accommodative / Accommodating respectively. If what Kolb


suggests about learning holds true, then a learner goes through a spiral process in
learning, "touching upon all the bases" of the circle before actually learning
something.29 So, schematically, this circle could take the following shape:

Figure 5: Kolb's experiential learning cycle and the main tenets of his theory.
Source: http://www.leopard-learning.com/kolb.html (Accessed 10/05/2011)

To the best of my knowledge, there has been no study exploring the potential
relationships between this model and the cognitive approach to idioms, despite the
fact that they seem to have a lot in common (e.g. the concrete experiential domain as
opposed to the abstract one etc.). Furthermore, it would be interesting to investigate
whether the converging learning style that Kolb mentions in his theory as being
related to abstract conceptualisation is more dominant in learners that do well in the
cognitive approach to idioms. Interesting and plausible as this potential might sound,
further research is called for before any safe conclusion can be reached.

3.2. From Theory to Practice

In an attempt to connect theory with practice, this dissertation will now shift to
analysing the pedagogical implications of a cognitive linguistic approach to idioms
that has not been particularly salient in the EFL literature. Thus, in this thesis I will try
to deal with this aspect of the cognitive linguistic approach by providing practical

29
For more schematic representations of Kolb's theory on learning styles, please see Appendix page 79.

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A cognitive linguistic treatment of idiomaticity in an EFL context Vassiliki Geka

ideas, suggestions and most importantly CL-inspired activities targeting idiom


teaching placed within the framework of a complete lesson plan.

Exploiting the main advantage of the CL approach, i.e. bringing to light the
hidden relationships that are woven among conceptual metaphors and idioms, I will
proceed to designing a lesson plan addressed to upper-intermediate adult learners of
English. The lesson plan will aim at teaching idioms related to the feeling of anger
grounded in the general conceptual metaphor ANGER IS HEAT, that is further
subdivided into two specific versions: a)ANGER IS A HOT FLUID IN A CONTAINER and
b) ANGER IS FIRE.

Yet, before proceeding to the construction of the lesson plan, there are a
number of parameters that have to be analysed in relation to the methodology
followed. More specifically, in the following section, I will attempt to provide
answers to the following questions:

What level should learners involved in a lesson adopting a CL approach to


idioms' instruction exhibit? Is there a significant difference among beginner
levels, intermediate or advanced ones?
Is the age of learners a significant parameter to be taken into account when
constructing CL-inspired activities aiming at teaching idioms? And if so,
which age spectrum appears to be more suitable for this kind of instruction and
why?

Two further questions that one has to pose before engaging in designing materials that
promote a CL approach to idioms' teaching are the following:

What kind of tasks and materials should be used?


Which idioms to include in the materials? Selection criteria.

The above questions should be part of a teacher's reflection as they can determine
in certain respects the success of the instructional method adopted. Without neglecting
the fact, that the starting point for effective teaching and materials' design should be
our learners and their needs, the parameters delineated above may play a significant
role. It is high time then we directed our attention to providing answers to these

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A cognitive linguistic treatment of idiomaticity in an EFL context Vassiliki Geka

methodological questions paving thus the way for the sample lesson and tasks
illustrating Cognitive Linguistics going applied.

3.3. A Cognitive Linguistics-Inspired Teaching Methodology for Idioms

Understanding the principles of the cognitive paradigm in relation to idioms is


one thing but applying them creatively and setting all the necessary parameters for
effective instruction is another, demanding task or -idiomatically speaking- "a whole
different kettle of fish". Let me therefore engage in answering the methodological
questions posed above so that I can illustrate how theory may be put into practice.
Reversing the order of appearance of the questions in the previous section, I will now
commence my discussion with the very last -but by no means least important-
question in our methodological agenda.

3.3.1 Which idioms to include in the materials? Selection criteria.

It is unfortunately true that although quite promising, the Cognitive


Linguistics perspective to idioms fails to account for all idioms. This is the case
because as Boers and Littlemore (2000) stress ―not all idioms lend themselves equally
well to the Cognitive Linguistics approach and to explicit imaging techniques‖.
Therefore, the selection of idioms to be included in a lesson plan should be quite well
thought-out and based on certain criteria.

In the lesson plan that follows, for instance, I have decided to present
idiomatic expressions motivated by the conceptual metaphor ANGER IS HEAT as
instantiated in its two more specific versions: a)ANGER IS A HOT FLUID IN A
CONTAINER and b) ANGER IS FIRE. The reasons for selecting these idioms over others
are mostly related to the productivity of these idiomatic expressions given the fact that
they describe an emotion. As the relevant literature has concluded, emotions
constitute the par excellence abstract domain of experience which consequently is in
need of structuring from a more concrete domain of experience (Kövecses, 2002: 21).
This would probably lead to greater frequency of idiomatic expressions belonging to
this systematic network over others, although no corpora frequency measurements
have been carried out. At this point, I would also like to stress that idioms related to
anger are significantly imagistic, this is a quality that facilitates cognitive processing

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A cognitive linguistic treatment of idiomaticity in an EFL context Vassiliki Geka

and has been referred to in the relevant literature as semantic transparency (Boers and
Littlemore, 2000). It is perhaps this special characteristic of idioms related to anger
that has provided them also with a certain prominence in the vast majority of the
papers revolving around the treatment of idiomaticity through a cognitive linguistic
approach (cf. Kövecses and Szabό, 1996; Berendi, Csábi and Kövecses, 2008; Boers,
2000a; Dobrovol‘skij and Piirainen, 2005; Gibbs et al, 1997 etc). This was yet another
reason that directed my selection of idiomatic expressions while designing the
materials that follow. A final reason for selecting these specific idiomatic expressions
is that they are also based on our conventional knowledge of the world and our bodily
experience, e.g. the rise of our bodily temperature and the concomitant blush in our
facial skin.

Although the aforementioned serve to explain my specific rationale behind the


selection of the idiomatic expressions that inspired the materials designed, the
selection criteria for idiomatic expressions to be treated within the framework of
Cognitive Linguistics are not expected to vary significantly. In other words, the
frequency of the idioms in authentic speech, the productivity of the source and the
target domains of the conceptual metaphors that motivate them, accompanied by their
socio-physical grounding, will in all likelihood constitute the main criteria along
which idioms selection should be made.

3.3.2 What kind of activities and materials should be used?

As all modern trends in ELT pedagogy postulate, the primary goal of a teacher
is to act as a facilitator and to provide his/her students with materials and activities
that are purposeful, meaningful and real-life or life-like. Having as his/her point of
departure the needs of the learners, a teacher should first try to investigate what the
attitudes vis-à-vis the teaching and learning of idioms are. Liontas (2002) for instance,
shows that learners‘ attitudes towards idioms should be awarded a top priority
position and should be investigated thoroughly30. This is extremely important as the
activities and the materials to be presented to students should reflect their learning
expectations out of an EFL programme. Another characteristic of successful materials

30
For a detailed description of Liontas' findings in relation to learners‘ attitudes towards idioms, please
see the Appendix of this work, on p.80.

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and tasks is that they should make the teaching aims behind them clear enough
through situations, contexts and examples rather than through complex metalanguage
or drill-like exercises. Moreover, as I already exemplified in the previous section,
materials should also seek to promote the development of productive learning and
cognitive strategies while catering for different learning and cognitive styles.

Ideally, materials and tasks should promote learner autonomy as well while at
the same time encourage co-operation with other learners. With relation to our point
of focus this would result in learners taking the opportunity to work on their own in
order to enhance their understanding of idiomaticity and figurative language by
employing the conceptual mechanisms of metaphor upon encountering new idioms.

From an intercultural EFL perspective, idioms appear to be crucial too, as they


constitute the par excellence source for creative discussion on cultural differences,
different world conceptualisations, and different cultural identity construals across
distinct language communities. Capitalising on recent developments in ELT
methodology, initiated to a great extent by the work of the Council of Europe, culture
has been attributed a central role in EFL contexts. As a result, materials focusing on
the study of idioms from a cognitive perspective may serve as manifestations of cross-
cultural similarities or alternatively cross-cultural differences and can be characterised
as the sine qua non of effective EFL teaching and learning materials (Kövecses,
2005).

3.3.3 Is the age of learners a significant parameter?

As Andreou and Galantomos (2008) state in their article in relation to the age
of learners involved in CL-inspired lessons aiming at teaching idioms, adults seem to
be better candidates than teenagers or very young learners. This is so because the
Cognitive Linguistics framework requires a certain familiarisation with abstract
reasoning and pragmatic skills on the part of learners which are more easily
encountered in adult learners than younger ones and adults are purported to have
developed their abstract reasoning and analytic ability 31more than younger learners.
Therefore, since abstract reasoning and analytic ability have been found to correlate

31
According to Sternberg (1985) there is a triarchic theory of human intelligence that distinguishes
among three types of intellectual abilities: analytic, creative, and practical. Analytic abilities are those
needed to analyse, evaluate, explain, and compare or contrast. Therefore, analytic thinking involves
applying problem-solving processes to abstract problems.

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with more effective idiom comprehension and retention through a CL-based approach
to idioms (cf. Boers and Littlemore, 2000), the target group of the sample lesson plan
provided is adult learners.

3.3.4 What is the right level?

Boers (2004: 221), as Andreou and Galantomos (2008) cite, suggests that
learners ranging from an intermediate to an upper-intermediate or advanced level are
perhaps the best candidates for CL-inspired activities aiming at enhancing their
understanding of idiomaticity. This is so because beginners are likely to face problems
due to lack of the lexical knowledge required for the processing of the given
instructions or the idiomatic expressions in the first place. As Boers states quite aptly,
to interpret the idiomatic expression “she was fuming” by employing the cognitive
approach, one first needs to know what “fuming” actually means. Chances are,
therefore, that an elementary language learner would be seriously inhibited by lack of
language resources in applying this cognitive linguistic approach to idioms, unlike
upper-intermediate or advanced learners. This assumption seems to be corroborated
further by other scholars like Deignan, Grabys and Solska (1997: 358) who noted that
―students below mid-intermediate level might not be equipped with the necessary
metalanguage for discussion‖ if they are to be exposed to the cognitive linguistic
method of idiomatic instruction.

Based on these findings, the sample lesson plan provided in Appendix 2 (p.82)
targets adult learners of an upper-intermediate level in English that have already
developed a certain competence in abstract reasoning and are likely to feel relatively
at ease with the lexis involved in the idioms presented.

3.4. The Rationale behind the Lesson Plan

Designing lesson plans and tasks ought to stem from a meticulously thought
process by any educator since it is through the learning materials that teachers and
educational institutions in general implement their short-term objectives and long-
term goals. Therefore, the sample lesson plan presented in this thesis serves as an
illustration of how teachers could actually apply the principles of the cognitive
linguistic approach to idiomaticity in order to achieve their teaching objectives.

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Adopting an eclectic approach, the lesson plan designed follows a hybrid


methodological model drawing on the Presentation-Practice-Production (PPP) and the
task cycle proposed by the Task Based Learning 32 framework. This was deemed
necessary because the emphasis in this kind of lessons is on enhancing learners‘
language awareness in relation to idiomaticity, rather than on developing their
receptive skills further which could be achieved through a pre-/during or while-/post-
skill lesson plan (PDP framework)33.

More specifically, during the presentation stage, the teacher will draw
learners‘ attention to specific idioms through contextualised use and imagery or visual
stimuli that have been proved to be extremely useful in the presentation,
comprehension and retention of idioms (Szczepaniak and Lew, 2011; Ellis, 1994;
Sökmen, 1997; Lindstromberg and Boers, 2005). Then, during the practice stage, the
teacher‘s control over the materials and the tasks eases and learners start working on
the idioms presented initially under somewhat controlled tasks and then in freer ones.

3.4.1 Description of the Tasks

In this section, I will only briefly and in broad terms refer to the tasks that
make up the whole lesson plan, as each task is followed by detailed teacher‘s notes
that explain the rationale behind each step, as well as how each task feeds into the
other.

The presentation stage involves three warm up activities, which aim at


activating learners‘ schemata about the feeling of anger and its intensity. Preparing
students cognitively for the tasks that follow is of paramount importance, as in this
way the whole lesson will seem coherent and meaningful to them. What is also
important at this stage is that the tasks employ imagery and visual stimuli, which are

32
Hereafter referred to as TBL. For more information please see: Bygate, Skehan and Swain, 2001;
Ellis, 2000; Willis, 1996a, 1996b and Appendix 1 (figure VIII) of this work p.81.
33
The PDP Framework: This lesson framework helps teachers plan and deliver effective listening,
video and reading lessons. The framework helps ensure that students are motivated, engaged and
active before, while and after (pre, during and post – PDP) listening to, watching, reading a text, or
speaking. Activities in the PDP framework are sequenced and scaffolded in such a manner that
learners are provided with the support they need to fully understand a given text. The stages of the
framework are a) the pre stage, b) the while-stage/during stage and c) the post stage.

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likely to increase both the learners‘ motivation and understanding. The last task of the
presentation stage is based on textual stimulus whose whole coherence depends on
the use of the cognitive network of idioms related to anger. The text and the questions
that accompany it will be used in order to elicit the learners‘ answers in relation to the
idioms presented in the text. Learners will be asked to notice the idioms related to
anger and think about similar idiomatic expressions in their mother tongue. The
ultimate goal of this task is to introduce learners to the systematicity of idioms and
their motivation on the basis of conceptual metaphors.

The practice stage is based on the anger idioms presented in the text (or other
related idioms) and their underlying metaphors. Elaborate metalanguage that would
hinder learners‘ understanding is obviously avoided. The tasks assigned to students at
this stage call either for the grouping of idioms 34 on the basis of the conceptual
metaphors that motivate them or for their categorisation in terms of their formal
characteristics. The production stage consists of two tasks, the second of which is
assigned as homework to learners. Both of these tasks are characterised by the
teacher‘s minimum control and the students‘ maximum freedom in output. The first
task of this stage is an activity focusing on speaking, whereby students have to report
briefly to their classmates their own ―anger stories and experiences‖ by drawing on
their overall language resources as well as the newly-presented idiomatic expressions.
The final homework task develops further the writing skills of learners as it invites
them in a creative, motivating and most importantly authentic writing task that will
require the activation of the sum of their language resources as well as their
knowledge about idiomaticity. Learners will be asked to prepare a ―comment‖ to be
posted on the facebook page of a ―group‖ called ―Anger Management‖ that would
narrate a personal experience that infuriated them.

In conclusion, the proposed lesson plan follows the principles of CL towards


idioms and puts them in practice through meaningful and authentic tasks that require
co-operation (pair work and group work) on the part of learners (Rahimi, 2008;
Dornyei, 2001; Ellis 1991, 2003). It also takes into consideration that imagery and
visual stimuli should be used because they will facilitate learners‘ better
comprehension of idioms. Evidently, based on the previous discussion of the

34
Skoufaki (2008) and Schmitt (1997: 211-217) suggest that grouping and storing idioms in motivated
clusters in our minds can lead to better and more long-lasting retention as well as easier retrieval.

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A cognitive linguistic treatment of idiomaticity in an EFL context Vassiliki Geka

interrelationship between learning and cognitive styles and the cognitive approach to
idioms, one may understand that visual stimuli are also expected to facilitate the
possible imager learners in our classroom35. A last thing to be noted is that all the
activities have been constructed on the basis of an authentic, real-life purpose and an
appropriate situational context in mind.

35
Please see pages 36-39 of this work.

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A cognitive linguistic treatment of idiomaticity in an EFL context Vassiliki Geka

CHAPTER 4

DISCUSSION, IMPLICATIONS AND LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY,


CONCLUSION

4.1. Importance of the study

In this dissertation, I set out on the premise that idiomaticity is far from
arbitrary or unsystematic and firmly believing that a cognitive linguistic approach can
offer educators not only a viable but also an effective framework for teaching idioms.
Bearing in mind that a cognitive approach to idioms derives from the theoretical
framework of Cognitive Linguistics and that there has been empirical evidence
(Kövecses and Szabό, 1996; Kövecses, 2002; Boers 2000a, 2000b) suggesting that
this model has practical pedagogical implications, I aimed at implementing this
perspective by designing a specific lesson plan.

Trying to investigate whether the EFL literature has taken advantage of the
new possibilities that this framework offers for the teaching of figurative language in
general and for the teaching of idioms in particular, I was confronted with a shortage
of relevant articles by foreign language experts and practitioners in traditionally
prominent EFL publications. In fact, Kövecses‘ and Szabo‘s (1996) influential article
“Idioms: A View from Cognitive Semantics” in Applied Linguistics seems to be-to the
best of my knowledge- a brilliant exception to the rule since although written by
experts in the field of Cognitive Linguistics, it appeared in one of the most prominent
journals dealing with Applied Linguistics. There are, of course, other papers and
articles advocating the use of a cognitive linguistic approach to idioms coming mostly
from experts in the field (Boers, 2000b; Boers and Lindstromberg, 2008; Andreou and
Galantomos, 2008, Skoufaki, 2008 etc) but they feature in publications related to
Cognitive Linguistics only.

An interesting example of a cognitive linguistic approach to idioms in an


applied context is the exemplary book of John Wright (2002) entitled Idioms
Organiser: Organised by Metaphor, Topic and Key Vocabulary. This book could be
used as a supplementary source of material for learners ranging from an upper
intermediate level to an advanced level of English. But what is important about it is

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that, as its name suggests, it provides learners with a grouping of idioms on the basis
of the conceptual metaphors that motivate them.

Against this backdrop, this dissertation has aimed to bring to the fore the
benefits of adopting such an approach for treating idiomaticity in an EFL context from
the perspective of a language teacher. To this end, it provided samples of activities
endorsing the principles of a cognitive approach to idioms but also communicative
principles of creating effective teaching materials (Rahimi, 2008; Dornyei, 2001; Ellis
1991, 2003). Applying effectively a theoretical model to teaching requires a careful
merging of two seemingly different perspectives that of the theoretician of language
and that of the teaching practitioner. Apparently, the contribution of this thesis is that
instead of theorising about the potential applications of the CL approach to idioms, it
comes up with a readily available lesson plan to be implemented in an actual EFL
context.

Having engaged meticulously in the relevant literature, I soon realised that the
activity-samples offered did not seem to be realistic, authentic, purposeful or
interesting for application. Not to mention that none of these suggestions for activities
or even actual activity-samples were embedded within the framework of a complete
lesson plan. For instance, despite Boers‘ and Lindstromberg‘s (2008) "good
intentions" in favour of the CL approach to idioms, the activities they suggest are
rather artificial and unlikely to attract potential learners‘ attention. None of the
activities they propose is contextualised or with a clear objective and a purpose for
communication. Also, the series of activities they have prepared do not really manage
to form a coherent sequence of tasks, as one task does not feed into the other and the
potential learning audience is not provided with any textual or visual stimulus, or in
any case just a context - framework into which this new knowledge could be
embedded. In addition, their selection criteria regarding the choice of the idioms
included are rather vague and learners are not presented with reasons accounting for
the choice of idioms used in the activities. Lastly, another shortcoming of their
suggestion for pedagogical application is that all the activities they designed fail to
take into account the need for the learners to work with idioms and produce their own
output. It should be noted, of course, that this lack of continuity in the activities is also
the result of not being framed into a lesson plan, but nonetheless, the activities per se
are hardly engaging or meaningful. Assuming that these activities were designed by

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scholars accustomed to treating language on a more descriptive and theoretical level, I


feel that the main problem with their pedagogical suggestion lies on the fact that they
constructed their teaching material more as theoreticians of language rather than as
practitioners of it36.

Evidently, my thesis is not free from restrictions or shortcomings either, as I


will suggest in one of the forthcoming sections of this chapter. So, having clarified
this point and having also delineated the main contribution of my study with its dual
focus on theory and practice I shall now proceed to suggestions for further research.

4.2. Suggestions for further research-Desiderata for a cognitive approach to


idioms

A careful consideration of what has been mentioned so far in relation to


idioms, to the cognitive paradigm, and to its practical, pedagogical applications can
lead one to think that there are still certain desiderata that a cognitive approach to
idioms has to fulfill. Moreover, one is also bound to observe that apart from its
theoretical significance, this model can have immediate, practical applications in two
main strands of Applied Linguistics, namely materials‘ design to idioms, and testing
vocabulary and idioms.

4.2.1. Implications for Materials’ Design

Having established that steering clear from idiomaticity is not the solution to
treating idioms in language, I have argued that the figurative language involved in
idioms should occupy a prominent position in EFL teaching materials. Gibbs (1994:
454) has stated that ―figuration is not an escape from reality but constitutes the way
we ordinarily understand ourselves and the world in which we live‖. So, if idiomatic
figurativeness is a natural and pervasive phenomenon in language and everyday
interaction, then it should be a part of EFL curricula and the materials used therein.

Andreou and Galantomos (2008) underscore the significance of conceptually


motivated idiomaticity in materials by suggesting the development of a conceptual
syllabus in a foreign language context. A syllabus, as they righteously claim, should
be considered ―a specification of the content of a course of instruction that lists what
will be taught and tested‖ (Richards, 2001: 2). In other words, if the curriculum is the
36
For the presentation of their activities, please see Boers‘ and Lindstromberg‘s (2008: 378-388).

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general destination to be reached, the syllabus is the specific path to be followed


towards this destination. Syllabi have been generally divided into two main
categories: a) the product-oriented syllabi and b) the process oriented syllabi Nunan
(1988:27). The former can be either grammatical or functional-notional, laying heavy
emphasis on what is to be taught, while the latter can be procedural or task-based,
focusing on how something is going to be taught and learnt (Nunan, 1988: 27-59; O‘
Dell, 1997: 260).

Although Andreou and Galantomos' suggestion about the development of a


conceptual syllabus sounds interesting, the two scholars, unfortunately, fail to explain
what a conceptual syllabus really is, since they explain neither what its structural units
will be, nor how they will be sequenced and ordered. The original suggestion for the
development of a conceptual syllabus stems from Marcel Danesi's work (1995) who
discussed the interrelationships between Second Language Teaching (SLT) and the
research in Cognitive Psychology and Linguistics. Danesi (1995) stresses the
importance of the development of conceptual fluency (CF) - the main parameter in his
opinion - that distinguishes a native from a non-native speaker. In particular, he
argues that non-native students' discourse is characterised by an "unnatural over-
literalness" (ibid: 4) because non-native students tend to consider metaphors or idioms
to be optional, ornamental features of discourse. What is more, in cases that they do
try to use figurative language, they might come up with utterances that are
conceptually inappropriate37. As he quite aptly states:

"...students 'speak' with the formal structures of the target language, but they 'think' in terms of their
native conceptual system: i.e., students typically use target language words and structures as 'carriers'
of their own native language concepts...when these coincide...then the student texts coincide
serendipitously with culturally appropriate discourse texts; when they do not, students' texts manifest
an asymmetry between language form and conceptual content" (ibid: 5).

Therefore, his suggestion about developing a conceptual syllabus is based on


his main assumption that language reflects or "encodes" concepts on the basis of
metaphorical meanings (ibid: 5). Of course, Danesi mentions that overgeneralisations

37
In his discussion, he uses the following example. If someone uses the phrase "I would like to discuss
my ides through this paper", rather than "in this paper", then this would not really be a linguistic error
as it arises from the application of a PAPER IS A CONDUIT metaphorical formula in the learner's
mother tongue, in lieu of A PAPER IS A CONTAINER formula used in English (Danesi, 1995). Such
examples triggered Danesi's interesting discussion of Contrastive Analysis and Interlanguage (or
concept transfer as he named it) associated with error correction to be found in the same paper.

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that would render all concepts as metaphorical should be avoided and he also admits
that there is still a lot of work to be done in order to show how grammatical and
semantic categories reflect conceptual structures or domains38. Bearing this caveat in
mind, as well as the difficulty in sequencing and ordering concepts, Danesi concludes
that a conceptual syllabus should be integrated with grammatical and communicative
syllabi, since the last two reflect the former. In brief, what Danesi suggests is a
rethinking of Second Language Teaching (SLT) by integrating language, cognitive
processes and culture in a coherent way in SLT syllabi with the aim of developing
learners' conceptual fluency. As it can be understood, such a syllabus would cover not
only idioms or metaphors but it would present how the language system can be shown
to reflect each culture's conceptual system in various ways. The cognitive styles of
learners and the need to develop further their cognitive strategies would also be taken
care of effectively under the umbrella of a conceptual syllabus39.

Furthermore, in relation to idioms' teaching, such a conceptual syllabus would


probably increase the motivation of learners as it will make them realise that the their
semantics is inherently motivated by conceptual metaphors. This boosting of learners‘
motivation, which, as Gardner (1985) has emphasised, is crucial in learning, will
increase learners‘ self-esteem when dealing with the issue of idiomaticity but this time
with the ―weapon‖ of conceptual metaphors under their belt. Interestingly, several
researchers have already noted that learners were especially motivated and interested
during the experiments conducted (Csabi, 2004; Deignan, Gabrys and Solska, 1997).
Nonetheless, intuitive guesses and observations during the experiments cannot lead us
to safe conclusions.

Motivation may also increase since learners will be exposed to an approach


that does not require rote learning and sterile memorisation but rather involves
meaningful, motivated categorisations. In this framework, more long-lasting retention
of idioms in learners‘ memories is to be expected. Inviting and promising as these
claims may sound, research in this area has been limited and is still much needed in
the respective areas of motivation and memory retention.

38
In his paper, he discusses how the prepositions "since" and "for" are related to the conceptual system
as reflexes of the conceptual metaphors TIME IS A POINT and TIME IS A QUANTITY (Danesi,
1995: 9, 16).
39
Please, see pages 34-39 of this work.

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In fact, the issue of longer idiom retention in learners‘ minds seems to be a


rather controversial issue. Some post tests (Boers, 2004) have not verified this
theoretically-argued merit of the cognitive approach, while other tests (Boers, 2000a)
have corroborated it. Boers (2004) was the first to voice his suspicion regarding the
issue of the time devoted to CL-inspired idiom instruction that he examined in
correlation with the period of idiom retention in learners‘ memory. He concluded that:
―a one-off eye opener about cognitive metaphors as an organiser of figurative lexis is
not sufficient to turn metaphor awareness into a (conscious) learning strategy that
could contribute to learner autonomy‖ (ibid: 216). Ellis (1994) as cited in Boers
(2004: 215), however, counterargues that inferring the meaning of unfamiliar
figurative expressions requires ―cognitive effort and involves deep, cognitive
processing which raises the probability of memory storage‖. Generally, the benefit of
maximum idiom mnemonic retention has been used as an asset attributed to a CL
approach to idioms, but further research is required to confirm or modify this
theoretically-argued merit.

A further point of interest arising from a cognitive perspective should be the


component of intercultural awareness related to idiomaticity. CL-inspired methods to
idiom instruction introduce learners to culture-specific differences across languages
that are expressed through metaphoricity and by extension through idiomaticity. In
simple words, idiomaticity, which is deeply rooted in culture, is representative of how
a given linguistic community construes reality and develops social practices
(Kövecses, 2005). Consequently, if learners are exposed to a CL approach to idioms,
they will also come into contact with the different ways that languages have invented
for constructing and representing realities, thereby increasing their intercultural
awareness of otherness. Yet, there is no research investigating the enhancement of
intercultural awareness through a CL approach to idioms in EFL contexts, although
this appears to be a worthwhile and insightful field of exploration. Needless to
mention that exploring this cross-cultural dimension of idiomaticity would also be of
interest to other fields of Applied Linguistics like the field of Translation Studies (cf.
Schäffner, 2004).

Overall, the implications for adopting a cognitive linguistic perspective so as


to design appropriate materials related to the teaching of idioms suggest that further
research is necessary in relation to the following:

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A cognitive linguistic treatment of idiomaticity in an EFL context Vassiliki Geka

The CL approach to idioms and the development of cognitive


strategies
The CL approach to idioms and its impact on learning-cognitive styles
The CL approach to idioms and its possible effects on learners‘
motivation
The CL approach to idioms and memory retention
The CL approach to idioms and enhancement of intercultural
awareness

and most importantly:

The development and integration of a conceptual syllabus with


grammatical and communicative syllabi that are expected to facilitate second
language learners understanding of the conceptual system in relation to L2
not only in relation to idiomaticity or figurative language but also in relation
to the development of their mastery in L2.

4.2.2. Implications for Test Development

The second strand of Applied Linguistics that can be potentially affected by


the application of a cognitive approach to idioms is test development. As already
mentioned, the development of a cognitive strategy that would enable learners to
make informed guesses about the idiomatic language they encounter could also be
regarded as a vocabulary test-taking strategy to be employed once learners are faced
with an unfamiliar vocabulary test item. Test-taking strategies have been defined as
the kind of strategies that learners resort to as they complete language tests. They are
usually consciously selected processes that test respondents use in order to cope not
only with the language issues but also with the item-response demands in the test-
taking tasks at hand (Cohen, 2006: 308). If familiarising learners with the conceptual
motivation of idioms can indeed be found to function as a vocabulary test-taking
strategy for unknown idioms, then we will find ourselves before another advantage of
the cognitive approach that has not been considered in the past. No matter how
interesting this hypothesis sound, empirical investigation and appropriately designed
experiments are called for in order to confirm it.

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A cognitive linguistic treatment of idiomaticity in an EFL context Vassiliki Geka

A final, albeit extremely interesting suggestion for future research would be to


shift our focus from the ―what‖ of the cognitive linguistic approach to idiomaticity to
the ―how‖. To the best of my knowledge, no study has focused on developing a
typology of tasks in order to test which particular task types would favour learners'
better performance in a context whereby students would have previously been
exposed to a CL approach to idiomaticity. For instance, it would be quite interesting
to measure if learners would fare better in a gap filling exercise regarding idioms or in
a multiple choice one after having been instructed in a CL-inspired way. Such an
investigation aimed at comparing and contrasting different task types and the testees'
performance at them has generally been ignored but it could open up new possibilities
in the field of testing. Another interesting research question, which is germane to test
development, would be to probe which kinds of tasks lend themselves more
effectively for exposing learners to the cognitive approach to idioms. For example,
grouping exercises (whereby idioms are categorised according to the metaphors that
motivated them) might be easier for the presentation or practice of idioms than
multiple choice questions.

It follows that a task-type research will also have significant back-wash


effects on materials‘ design. In fact, the reason why the present study aimed at
contributing a complete lesson plan with tasks based on a CL approach to idioms was
so that both strands of Applied Linguistics could be focused upon. A teacher and a
learner need the right materials to work on and a test developer needs the right tasks
to measure effectively and fairly the testees' competence and knowledge. Finally, a
researcher needs the right tasks that will guarantee the accuracy of his/her findings in
the experiments to be conducted. Consequently, coming up with the right tasks for
introducing and applying a cognitive linguistic approach to idioms is important.

Overall, the pedagogical implications of CL and the suggestions for future


research in the strands of materials‘ design and test development can be summarised
in the figure that follows:

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A cognitive linguistic treatment of idiomaticity in an EFL context Vassiliki Geka

Figure 5: The main pedagogical implications of a cognitive linguistic approach to idiomaticity.

4.3. Limitations of the study-suggestions for future research

As it is typical of any master dissertation, despite the good intentions of the


author, there are always dimensions that remain unexplored and the present thesis
could not be an exception to the rule. Recognising the limitations of the study and
suggesting ways to overcome them through research is exactly what this section will
focus on.

The very first limitation that I would like to acknowledge is that despite the
contribution of this thesis, namely the complete pedagogical proposal I am putting
forth through the lesson plan designed, I have not been able to implement this lesson
plan in an actual EFL class of adult learners. If that were the case, I would have been

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A cognitive linguistic treatment of idiomaticity in an EFL context Vassiliki Geka

able to validate my claims with empirical evidence or modify my hypotheses. In fact,


a researcher should ideally use two classes of adults; one of which would be
instructed in a cognitive linguistic approach, while the other would be taught the same
idioms in the "traditional way". By the term "traditional way", I mean treating idioms
as fixed, idiosyncratic items of the lexicon without any conceptual motivation.
Consequently, a teacher adopting the traditional approach to idioms, would present
them as frozen patterns of language that students would have to memorise.

In such an experiment, the researcher should also carry out a pre-test to both
classes so as to check whether and to what extent learners are familiar with the anger
idioms, as this can distort the significance of the findings. In this way, s/he would
maximise the validity of the experiment's results. Finally, carrying out a post-test with
the same students after a certain period of time would also allow a researcher to draw
some useful conclusions as regards the debatable issue of more long-lasting memory
retention.

Yet, what seems most intriguing in relation to future research would be to


conduct a more longitudinal experiment again with two classes spreading over a
whole course or a whole academic period, however this may be defined by an
educational institution. The rationale behind that being to design a series of lessons
like the one presented herein, so as to form a complete conceptual syllabus aiming at
enhancing learners‘ knowledge of the conceptual system of the L2 in general, as well
as their knowledge of idiomaticity. The conceptual syllabus would be used, however,
only with one of the classes, while the other would be instructed the same subject
matter in a traditional way delineated above.

Of course, the selection of idioms to be included in the syllabus in this case


should be based on strict selection criteria, one of which, as I mentioned elsewhere,
should be their frequency as measured in corpora. The results of such an experiment
will probably reveal interesting aspects of the teachability and learnability of idioms
in CL-inspired and traditional EFL lessons that have remained unexplored.

Finally, a last dimension that I have not been able to investigate and to the best
of my knowledge has only partially been explored in relation to idiom instruction in
general (Liontas, 2002) is the attitudes of learners towards the cognitive approach of
idiom instruction. In this case, both qualitative and quantitative methods should be

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A cognitive linguistic treatment of idiomaticity in an EFL context Vassiliki Geka

used, mainly through questionnaires and interviews. What learners think and their
desires and needs should always be the starting point and the driving force for any
lesson, syllabus, or curriculum.

4.4. Conclusion

In this thesis, I have attempted to provide an overview of idiomaticity starting


from the past and reaching out to its very vibrant present. In particular, I have adopted
a view to idioms that has debunked the myth of arbitrariness that has surrounded them
for so long, placing them on the margins of linguistic theorising and research.
Advocating the implementation of a cognitive approach to idioms, I have offered
practical ideas on how this model could be creatively applied in an EFL context
providing students with intellectually challenging and motivating learning options.

Endowing learners with the useful insights of the cognitive approach to idioms
will hitherto enable them to perceive idioms as conceptually motivated and categorise
them accordingly. An innovative paradigm of linguistic thought such as CL will
certainly take time to ripen in educators‘ minds and will also require time, effort and
hard work to expand in the area of materials‘ design and testing. Nevertheless, a CL-
inspired pedagogy and idiom instruction can provide us with new insights in the way
learners acquire idioms and in the way different languages construe reality.

The present thesis has precisely provided an argument for the applicability of
cognitive linguistic insights to foreign language instruction and the teaching of idioms
in particular. So, I would like to bring this thesis to a close by referring to the
debatable issue of the teachability of idioms that was humourously presented by Boers
(2010) in one of his presentations40 as follows:

Spending time on idioms!?

―Reaction from the mainstream: ―You must be mad! Idioms are just the icing on the cake.‖

CL: ―But they cause comprehension problems.‖

Mainstream: ―They‘re simply not common enough. That‘s the long and short of it.‖

40
Boers, F. (2010) ―Pathways for engagement: Some ideas from ‗Cognitive Linguistics.‘‖ Paper
presented at conferences at Copenhagen Business School, Approaches to the Lexicon.
(Availableat:https://cypress.cbs.dlk?index.php/lexicon/lexicon/paper/view/840/508. Last modified:
28/07/2010) (Accessed: 22/04/2011)

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CL: ―But in some genres idioms are quite common.‖

Mainstream: ―Okay then if you‘re teaching advanced learners. But to aid comprehension, not
production.‖

CL: ―Absolutely. Glad we‘re seeing eye to eye.‖

Mainstream: ―Take another look at your studies.‖

CL: ―Hmm…‖

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APPENDICES

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APPENDIX 1
TABLES AND FIGURES

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COMMUNICATIVE COMPETENCE (Adapted from Bachman, 1990)


Organisational competence Grammatical Competence Vocabulary
Morphology
Syntax
Phonology/Graphology
Textual Competence

Pragmatic Competence Illocutionary Ideational Functions


Competence Manipulative Functions
Heuristic Functions
Imaginative Functions

Sociolinguistic Sensitivity to register


Competence Sensitivity to dialect or variety
Sensitivity to “naturalness"
(i.e. appropriateness)
Cultural references and figures of speech

Figure I: The components of communicative competence in Bachman‘s model (1990) (Source of


adapted material: Dendrinos, B. (2005) Applied Linguistics Reader and Workbook. Athens: National
and Kapodistrian University.

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Figure II: The Direct Strategies in Oxford's and Ehrman's taxonomy


Source: (Oxford, R. L and Ehrman, M. 1990)

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Figure III: The InDirect Strategies in Oxford's and Ehrman's taxonomy

Source: (Oxford, R. L and Ehrman, M., 1990)

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Analytic (Field Independent) Holistic / Concrete (Field Dependent)


Information processing

This person finds it relatively easy to This person experiences item as


detach an experienced (perceived) fused with its context; what is
item from its given background interesting is the impression of the
The item is extractable because it is whole
perceived as having a rudimentary Item is experienced and
meaning on its own; thus it can be comprehended as part of an overall
moved out of its presented associational unity with concrete and
surroundings and into a personal interconnections; (item‘s
comprehensive category system--- storage in, and retrieval from,
for understanding (and "filing" in memory is via these often
memory) affectively-charged associations)
Tendency to show traits of Tendency to show traits of
introversion (the person‘s mental extraversion (person‘s mental
processing can be strongly activated processing is activated by relatively
by low-intensity stimulus; hence higher-intensity stimulus; therefore
dislikes excessive input) likes rich, varied input
Tendency to be "reflective" and Tendency to be "impulsive" in
cautious in thinking task thinking tasks; "plays hunches"
Any creativity or unconventionality Any creativity or unconventionality
would derive from individual‘s would derive from individual‘s
development of criteria on a rational imaginativeness or "lateral thinking"
basis
Learning strengths

1. Performs best on analytical language 1. Performs best on tasks calling for intuitive
lasks (e.g. understanding and using "feel" for language (e.g. expression; richness
correct syntactical structures; of lexical connotation; discourse; rhythm and
semantically ordered comprehension of intonation)
words; phonetic articulation) 2. Prefers material which has a human,
2. Favours material tending toward the social content; or which has fantasy or
abstract and impersonal; factual or analytical; humour; personal; musical, artistic
useful; ideas 3. Has affinity for methods in which
3. Has affinity for methods which are: various features are managed simultaneously;
focused; systematic; sequential; cumulative realistically; in significant context
4. Likely to set own learning goals and 4. Less likely to direct own learning; may
direct own learning; (but may well choose or function well in quasi-autonomy (e.g.
prefer to use---for own purpose---an "guided discovery"); (but may well express
authoritative text or passive lecture situation. preference for a formal, teacher dominated
5. "Left hemisphere strengths" learning arrangement, as a compensation for
own perceived deficiency in ability to
structure.
5. "Right hemisphere strengths"

Figure IV: Contrasts on the two poles of the Field Independent (Analytic) and Field Dependent
(Concrete/Holistic) Dimension (Source: Material adapted from Willing, 1988)

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Figure V: Kolb's experiential learning cycle and the interrelations of learning styles
Source: http://www.businessballs.com/kolblearningstyles.htm (Accessed 10/05/2011)

Figure VI: Kolb‘s learning styles presented as quadrants of the learning cycle.
Source: http://effective.leadershipdevelopment.edu.au/series/experiential-learning-models/ (Accessed
10/05/2011)

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Figure VII : Learners‘ notions and attitudes towards idiomaticity (Source: Liontas, 2002)

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Figure VIII: The components of the Task-based learning


Source: http://ilovetbl.blogspot.com/2010/10/task-based-learning-video-2.html (Accessed: 11/05/2011)

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APPENDIX 2
A CL-INSPIRED LESSON PLAN

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A CL-inspired lesson plan for teaching anger idioms

Subject: English Language


Topic: Anger Management (A cognitive linguistic approach to teaching anger idioms)
Level: Upper – Intermediate (B2 +)41
Class size: 12 students
Age: Adult learners (25-35 years old)
Allocated Time: 45 minutes
Aims: 1. To introduce learners to a new framework of presenting idioms that runs
counter to mere memorisation and foregrounds conceptual motivation.
2. To enable learners to identify the conceptual metaphors that motivate certain
idioms and classify them accordingly.
3. To engage learners in the process of reporting on their own experiences by drawing
on their language resources including their newly-acquired knowledge on anger
idioms.
4. To make learners more acutely aware of the cross-linguistic and intercultural
differences or similarities of idiomatic expressions.
Prior Knowledge: 1. Learners are supposed to have developed the basic speaking,
reading and writing skills required for the present task conception.
2. Learners are supposed to exhibit a B2+ level of the English language.
3. Learners are supposed to be familiar with informal writing style and at least partly
familiar with the conventions associated with writing messages electronically or
narrating experiences electronically on facebook or blog-like sites.
Language Skills: Reading, Writing, Speaking (although the focus of this lesson will
not be on the development of skills)
Anticipated Problems: 1. Learners might need some extra time to understand a
cognitive approach to idioms and feel at ease with it. (The teacher should insist by
using the visual on Worksheet D (see Appendix p. 100) as well as more examples of
idioms motivated by conceptual metaphors.
Teaching Aids/ Materials: Worksheets A-I (multiplied x12), blackboard, chalk,
screen, data projector and laptop or laptop and interactive whiteboard (IWB) to
display the visual on Worksheet D (p.100), back up photocopies with the visuals to be

41
According to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), (Council of
Europe, 2001).

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used in class in case of a technical problem, key to the tasks of the lesson plan (for the
teacher).

Presentation Stage

Warm up Task 1

Input: Visual stimuli accompanied by situational scripts related to anger – activation of mental
schemata

Interaction: TSs, SsSs


Class Organisation: Pair Work
Language Awareness: Vocabulary related to anger (idioms could also be expected at
this stage)
Teaching Objectives: 1. To enable learners to identify anger as the topic of
discussion.
2. To motivate learners and arouse their interest for the forthcoming text and tasks.
3. To activate learners‘ schemata and background knowledge for the feeling of anger
by eliciting pertinent vocabulary and potentially anger idioms through visual stimuli.
Allocated Time: 4 minutes
Material: Worksheet A (Appendix p. 95)
Description of task - instructions: Imagine that you find yourselves in the following
situations (A-E) depicted in the pictures below. What will your main feeling be and
how intense do you think it would be in each case? Talk with your neighbour and
compare the intensity of your feeling.
Teacher’s Notes: The teacher distributes photocopies of Worksheet A (Appendix p.
95) and at the same time s/he projects the visuals on an interactive whiteboard or a
screen connected to a data projector so that they will be in display for the whole class.
S/he should ask Ss to work in pairs and read the situation scripts next to the visuals
provided so as to discuss their emotional reaction(s) in these potential circumstances.
The teacher should monitor the discussion of the pairs that should be carried out in L2
so as to check a) whether any student is in need of help or further clarifications and b)
what kind of vocabulary the students have resorted to during this introductory, warm-
up stage. An additional aim of this task is to help learners identify the topic of
discussion in this lesson. So, the teacher should also keep a watchful eye on any

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learner(s) that might have trouble identifying the feeling of anger in this warm up
activity. As regards language output, learners will probably come up with some
idiomatic expressions (e.g. ―smoke would be coming out of my ears‖) - particularly
the more imagistic ones or those with direct correspondences in L142. However, even
if, students do not come up with many or any idiomatic expressions, such a warm-up
activity will prepare them cognitively for what is to follow as it will activate their
mental schemata in relation to anger. If they only use literal language to describe the
emotion of anger, students will become even more acutely aware of the figurative,
idiomatic expressions available for expressing anger through the following tasks. The
teacher should also ask one or two pairs to report to the whole class their discussion
about their potential reaction(s) as this could really liven up the classroom or lead to
an interesting class discussion.

Input: The situational scripts of task 1 embedded into a questionnaire related to anger –
activation of mental schemata- familiarisation with the gradable nature of the intensity of the
feeling of anger.

Warm up Task 2
Interaction: TSs
Class Organisation: Individual Work
Language Awareness: The gradable nature of the vocabulary related to anger.
Teaching Objectives: 1. To help learners understand the gradable nature of the
feeling of anger and to relate this notion of gradability to the idiomatic expressions
related to anger that will follow.
Allocated Time: 2-3 minutes
Material: Worksheet B (Appendix p.96)
Description of task - instructions: Now, based on your answers to the previous task,
answer the following questionnaire by stating how angry you would be exactly in
each of the situations depicted above. Please, circle your answers accordingly in the
scale that follows.
Teacher’s Notes: After completing warm-up task 1, the teacher should ask each
student to take a couple of minutes to complete the anger questionnaire (Worksheet B,

42
Assuming that this lesson addresses adult Greek learners, such an idiom would be readily available to
them because of its direct correspondence to an L1 idiom.

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Appendix p. 96). The rationale behind this questionnaire is to help learners understand
that there are degrees of anger that can be expressed- as they will see promptly-
through different idiomatic expressions showing the gradability of the intensity of the
feeling 43 . At this stage again, the focus is not on idioms per se although students
might have activated in their minds their familiar idiomatic expressions. The aim of
the task is rather to prepare students mentally for the cognitive demands of the tasks
that follow and make them more acutely aware of the gradability of the feeling of
anger. Finally, learners might also start thinking about the difference(s) between the
literal and figurative language used for expressing anger through the visuals used at
the extremes of the continua in the scale of the questionnaire.

Input: Textual stimulus for anger idioms –elicitation questions that will
progressively lead learners to focus on the systematicity of the idioms
included in the text.

Warm-up Task 3
Interaction: TSs, SSSs
Class Organisation: Individual Work (reading), Class Work (answering questions,
initiating class-discussion)
Language Awareness: The imagistic characterisation of idioms related to anger.
Language Skills: Reading (sub-skills emphasised: skimming and scanning)
Teaching Objectives: 1. To expose learners to the imagistic and metaphorical nature
of anger idioms by introducing the relevant terminology to be employed through
visual representation (see Appendix p.100).
2. To introduce the relevant vocabulary used in idiomatic expressions of anger.
3. To raise learners‘ awareness about cross-linguistic and cross-cultural differences or
similarities in anger idioms.
Allocated Time: 12 minutes
Material: Worksheet C and Worksheet D (Appendix pages: 97-100)
Description of task - instructions: You have noticed that lately, your best friend
tends to over-react to trivial things and to become too angry with no real reason. So,

43
Depicting the end of continua with visual imagery ranging from the purely literal adjective ―angry‖
to the visual that describes the idiom ―smoke was coming out of one‘s ears‖ is also expected to show
the escalation of the intensity of the feeling of anger.

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you decided to find an article about anger management strategies in order to learn
more about anger and find ways to help your friend. Read the article that you found
and try to answer the following questions.
Questions: 1) What is the main feeling that the text analyses? 2) Can you identify
any expressions from the text that refer to it? 3) Would you characterise any of
the expressions that you found as literal, metaphorical, idiomatic, or imagistic? 4)
Are there any similar expressions or images related to this feeling in your mother
tongue?

Teacher’s Notes: The teacher should give Ss a few minutes to read the text so
that they can become more familiar with the topic of anger and let them identify,
as many expressions as they can, related to it. The teacher should monitor the
class while the Ss are scanning and skimming through the text. When they finish
reading, the teacher should start by asking the very first question concerning the
topic of the text, expecting Ss to come up with ―anger and management strategies
for anger‖ as their answer. Then, s/he should ask a learner to start reporting the
expressions that s/he found so that other learners can also start contributing the
expressions they identified44. Ss will probably come up with literal expressions
but also idiomatic ones e.g. ―fuming‖ or ―get hot under the collar‖ etc. At this
stage, imagistic idioms might be more likely since learners might be able to work
their meaning out more easily than other, more obscure idiomatic expressions like
―vent one‘s spleen‖ or ―brimming with anger‖ etc 45 . After the stage of
identification, the teacher should ask the most important elicitation question of
this stage. In other words, s/he should ask learners whether the expressions they
identified could be characterised as literal, metaphorical, idiomatic, or imagistic.
His/her question should be accompanied of what these terms really mean so that
s/he reassures that there is no problem with the terminology and that learners
understand the difference among the terms. To this end, he could accompany
his/her question with an example from the text46 so that learners will feel more
secure with their answers. It is precisely this question and in particular the

44
If Ss fail to identify all the expressions related to anger, the teacher should help them by drawing
their attention to them.
45
If Ss have difficulty with the vocabulary of the text or with the vocabulary involved in the idioms
related to anger, the teacher should explain the vocabulary as the most important objective of this task
is to introduce learners to the cognitive mechanism of metaphor that motivates idioms rather than check
learners‘ knowledge of vocabulary.
46
E.g. ―they anger very easily and, once they‘re angry…‖ as opposed to ―don‘t blow your lid‖.

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―elicitation trigger‖ adjectives, ―metaphorical‖, ―idiomatic‖ and ―imagistic‖ that


will pave the way for the introduction of learners to the imagistic and
metaphorical nature of anger idioms. The teacher should begin to explain how
these idioms are motivated by the general metaphor ANGER IS HEAT that is also
further divided into two more specific versions, namely the metaphor ANGER IS
FIRE and ANGER IS A HOT FLUID IN A CONTAINER. To facilitate Ss‘ first contact
with the cognitive approach to idioms, s/he should use the visual provided in the
Appendix (p. 100). Ideally, s/he should either draw the figure on the blackboard
or use an electronic version of the visual that will be put in display for the whole
class on the screen of an IWB. Avoiding unnecessary and perplexing
metalanguage, s/he should explain that anger is an emotion and as such, it is by
definition typically abstract. Therefore, the users of the English language need to
employ something more concrete such as the image of fire or the image of a hot
fluid in a container (like a pot of water boiling etc) to express this feeling and its
degrees of intensity. Having explained the motivation of anger idioms, the
teacher could also ask learners to think about their conventional knowledge about
anger as well as their bodily reactions when they are angry (e.g. Isn‘t the learners‘
body temperature rising when they are angry? Don‘t they go red in the face? etc).
The final question to be asked is the one that would require Ss to think about
anger in terms of their mother tongue and find if there are any correspondences in
their L1 idiomatic expressions related to anger or not. This last question will
make Ss think deeper and enhance their awareness of cross-linguistic and cross-
cultural differences and similarities in idioms.

Practice Stage

Input: Focus on the form of idioms related to anger – idioms show a certain
degree of inflexibility and fixedness - they are not amenable to formal
changes and Ss have to work on mastering their form – a tabulation of the
anger idioms‘ formal characteristics.

Practice Task 1
Interaction: TSs
Class Organisation: Individual Work

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Language Awareness: Idioms related to anger


Teaching Objectives: 1. To enable learners to familiarise themselves with (or
alternatively revise) some idiomatic expressions related to anger by matching their
halves.
2. To expose learners to a categorisation of idioms according to their formal
characteristics.
Allocated Time: 7-9 minutes
Material: Worksheet E and Worksheet F (Appendix pages 101-102)
Description of the task - instructions: Match the first parts of the idioms in
Column A with their second parts in Column B. (There might be more than one
option per item).
Teacher’s Notes: The first task of the practice stage aims to draw Ss‘ attention to
the form of newly presented idioms encountered in the text. Students should work
individually in order to practice the form of these idioms. Learners might be able
to comment on their own on the similarities they might notice on the form of
certain idioms. But if this is not the case, when Ss report their answers, the
teacher should present them with a tabulation of the formal characteristics of
idioms (please, see Appendix p.102) so that Ss can group idioms in relation to
their form as well. The tabulation should either be designed on the blackboard or
be displayed on the IWB and then distributed in photocopies to students. More
specifically, the teacher should explain that the idioms presented follow certain
structures based on prepositions, possessive determiners etc. S/he could also
initiate a discussion on (in) transitivity constructions, if time and Ss‘ background
knowledge allow it. Mastering the form of idioms will be the first step of the
practice stage that will provide Ss with the opportunity to discern idioms‘ formal
fixedness or frozenness

Input: Focus on the systematic network of idioms motivated by the


conceptual metaphor ANGER IS HEAT and its two specific versions ANGER IS
FIRE and ANGER IS A HOT FLUID IN A CONTAINER.

Practice Task 2
Interaction: TSs, SsSs
Class Organisation: Pair Work

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Language Awareness: Idioms related to anger and the conceptual metaphors


motivating them.
Teaching Objectives: 1. To enable learners to group idioms on the basis of the
conceptual metaphors that motivate them.
2. To make learners aware of the systematicity that idioms exhibit.
Allocated Time: 5 minutes
Material: Worksheet G (Appendix p. 103)
Description of task - instructions: Work with your partner and try to group the
idioms in the box below under the metaphors that motivate them. Please write
your answers inside or under the circles that correspond to each metaphor.
Teacher’s Notes: During this last presentation task, the teacher asks Ss to work
in pairs and try to group the idioms provided (both idioms already presented to
them or new ones) according to the two versions of the metaphor provided. This
task will help learners expand their recently acquired knowledge to other idioms
also motivated by the same metaphors. What is also significant for this task is
that Ss are required to group idioms, which as research has shown, leads to longer
retention of idioms in Ss‘ memory and facilitates cognitive processing. To pre-
empt any problems during the completion of the task due to lack of vocabulary
knowledge, the teacher can also provide the Ss with the meaning of the lexical
items that s/he anticipates to be problematic for Ss. Once more, this is done
because the main objective of this task is to expose learners to the metaphorical
systematicity and motivation of idioms rather than test their knowledge of the
vocabulary items involved in the idiomatic expressions selected for the task. To
this end, pair work in this task is supposed to facilitate Ss‘ completion of the task
as they will have the chance to exchange views and ideas on the conceptual
motivation of anger idioms. Finally, since this task focuses on the form of idioms,
Ss will be given a list with the idioms (see. Appendix p. 103) whose constituents
will be regarded as unfamiliar to them. This is so because we do not wish Ss‘
comprehension of idiomaticity to be hindered by their potential vocabulary
problems.

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Production Stage
Input: Visual stimuli – newly-presented idioms in context that the Ss will have
to create.

Production Task 1
Interaction: TSs, Ss Ss
Class Organisation: Group work (4 groups of 3)
Language Awareness: Idioms and vocabulary related to anger
Language Skills: Speaking
Teaching Objectives: 1. To enable learners to report on anger experiences by using
idioms.
Allocated Time: 10 minutes
Material: Worksheet H (Appendix p. 104)
Description of task - instructions: Look at the pictures that follow and the short
descriptions below them. Each picture describes an experience that could make you
angry (or has made you angry in the past). Choose one picture depicting such an
experience and narrate to your partner the incident that the photo depicts and how
angry you would be/were by using at least three idioms related to anger.
Teacher’s Notes: The teacher should divide Ss into four groups of three and should
ask each student in the groups to choose one of the pictures (accompanied by a brief
description) to narrate a similar experience they have had or an imaginary one similar
to that depicted by the photo they have chosen. Each student in the group should
choose a different picture, so that the group discussion is not based on an identical
prompt.47 The instances described in the pictures were chosen according to the needs
of adult learners that is why they refer to incidents that could have actually taken
place in their family, professional and social life etc. The teacher should stress that the
report of their experiences should contain at least three of the newly-presented
idiomatic expressions, appropriately contextualised in Ss‘ experiences that should be
shared among the members of their group. The teacher should also explain that Ss
should briefly report (four to five utterances per student) their reactions/experiences.
Moreover, the teacher should mention that Ss are allowed to make a few notes prior to
reporting to the other members of the group but they are not allowed to write down

47
I am offering twelve different prompts so that in case all Ss choose different pictures, the overall
output will be quite varied and diverse. Additionally, in this way I would maximise the possibility of
Ss‘ using different idioms.

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their exact utterances. While Ss are engaged in this task, the teacher should monitor
the group reports and offer his/her help if needed (e.g. Ss looking for a word or for
effective ways to phrase their thoughts).

Input: The overall input of the lesson accompanied by the Ss‘ background
knowledge about posting comments on facebook and narrating/reporting on
their experiences.

Task 2 (Homework)
Interaction: TSs
Class Organisation: Individual work
Language Awareness: Idioms and vocabulary related to anger, textual grammar,
narrative techniques
Language Skills: Writing
Teaching Objectives: 1. To engage learners in a writing task that will require them to
report their experiences by applying creatively their newly-acquired knowledge
related to idiomaticity.
2. To help learners relay their newly-presented knowledge to real-world tasks.
Allocated Time: 2 minutes (for the explanation of the task in class by the teacher)
Material: Worksheet I (Appendix p. 106)
Description of task - instructions: While surfing on facebook, you stumbled upon a
new group that you decided to join, called Anger Management. After reading a couple
of interesting stories on the group‘s ―wall‖, you decided to contribute your own
―anger story‖ about a recent experience you had. Write your story (100-150 words) in
the form of a facebook comment to be posted on the group‘s wall and shared among
your other facebook friends.
Teacher’s Notes: The teacher should take about two minutes to explain to Ss their
homework task. S/he should explain that their homework task is quite similar to what
most adults aged 25-35 years48 old, and probably themselves, do in their personal,
everyday life when they want to relax and share their feelings with their friends.
Instead of writing an e-mail to a friend – which seems quite artificial and outdated as
a task - learners will be engaged in a meaningful, authentic and communicative task

48
This is the target audience of the lesson plan.

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based on a very familiar situational context for them that involves posting comments
on facebook. In this case, the comment is going to be a personal ―anger story‖ that
they had and that they would like to share with the other members of the ―Anger
Management‖ group and their facebook friends (please, see Appendix p.106). The
teacher, however, should stress that just like in the case of e-mails, Ss should avoid
using netiquette symbols49 and they should stick to producing language output that
suits the stylistic conventions associated with the genre of the text they should
produce. S/he could simply say that netiquette symbols are not understood by
everyone. The teacher should also remind Ss that the register in this case is informal,
the target audience is their friends and the other members of the group they have
joined. S/he should also stress that their final product should be a facebook comment
reporting on an anger (mis)management story that they have experienced. The teacher
could also suggest to Ss to actually post their comments on the wall of this specific
group50 or alternatively just visit it so that they can see some examples of the other
group members‘ contributions. At this stage, the teacher cannot impose any
restrictions on the language output of Ss, because Ss are supposed to come up with
their own answers, drawing on all their language resources and not just the newly-
presented idiomatic knowledge. Nonetheless, the nature of the task is such that anger
idioms are to be expected while Ss are reporting their experiences.

49
Netiquette is a set of social conventions that facilitate interaction over networks and netiquette
symbols should be understood as abbreviations in the form of symbols (e.g. ―@‖ standing for the word
―at‖, number ―4‖ standing for the preposition ―for‖ etc. or the combination of computer keys to produce
emoticons - facial expression pictorially represented by punctuation and letters, usually to express a
writer‘s mood- e.g. :-) Smiley Face – Happy / :-( Frown – Sad / |:-} Calm / >:-( Angry Frown – Upset /
;-) Wink etc.
50
This groups is an authentic one, open to the public, available at:
https://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/group.php?gid=3893461543

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APPENDIX 3
MATERIALS FOR THE LESSON PLAN

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APPENDIX 3a
WORKSHEET A
WARM-UP TASK 1
TASK 1: Imagine that you find yourselves in the following situations (A-E) depicted
in the pictures below. What will your main feeling be and how intense do you think it
would be in each case? Talk with your neighbour and compare the intensity of your
feeling.

Situation A
You are driving down the
highway with your brand
A new car and suddenly
another car cuts you off
and causes you a minor
accident with another
car! What do you do?
How do you feel?
Situation B
You have to submit an
important report to your
B boss in 30 minutes and
your computer has just
crashed!All your archives
are in danger! What do
you do? How do you feel?
Situation C
You have just found out
that your husband is
C cheating on you with your
best friend! What do you
do? How do you feel?

Situation D
You lent your only car to
your best friend and he
D returned it back to you
full of scrapes. What do
you do? How do you feel?

Situation E
The stock market has just
crashed and you lost
E about 1.000.000$ from
your investments. What
do you do? How do you
feel?

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APPENDIX 3b
WORKSHEET B
WARM-UP TASK 2
Now, based on your answers to the previous task, answer the following questionnaire
by stating how angry you would be exactly in each of the situations depicted above.
Please, circle your answers accordingly in the scale that follows.

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APPENDIX 3c
WORKSHEET C
PRESENTATION TASK 1: TEXT
TEXT

DON’T BLOW YOUR LID: ANGER MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES THAT WORK

You‘re in the grocery store, and someone nearly


bumps into you with their cart. Later, while driving down the highway, someone in a big
SUV cuts you off and nearly causes an accident. Then, when you get back to the office,
your computer is causing you problems—it just won‘t do what you want it to do.

Do you spend the rest of the afternoon fuming, thinking about how people really
ought to watch where they‘re going—or do you let it go? Do you race to catch up to the
reckless driver and try to cut him off or shake your fist at him—or do you lay back in
your seat and think, ―I‘m thankful I didn’t get into an accident!‖? Do you pound your
fists on your desk and contemplate throwing your computer across the room—or do you
take a few deep breaths and try to find someone to help you figure out the problem?
These might seem like silly examples, but how you choose to respond to your anger has
a big effect on every aspect of your life—and how you feel while you‘re living it.

Anger is a completely natural response, and everyone experiences anger from


time to time. In some situations, anger can have positive effects. It spurs us to take action
and change an unsatisfying situation, and it helps us fight the injustices we see in the
world. All great social movements started with a seed of anger; someone saw something
that needed changing, and their anger over the mistreatment of others helped them take
the first steps toward liberation. But when we find ourselves brimming with anger on a
regular basis, it can have seriously negative effects—on our health, our relationships, and
our quality of life.

The goal here isn‘t to never get hot under the collar. The key to anger
management is understanding when you‘re angry and how to express that anger in a
healthy way. Lashing out, blowing your top, holding it all in, stewing in your own juice,
or acting out in passive-aggressive ways that allow you to seek revenge with a veneer of
niceness are all unhealthy ways of dealing with your anger. You can have too much or
too little anger, and both cause problems.

Too Much Anger: A Life of Frustration

Some people have too much anger. Or, more accurately, they anger very easily
and, once they‘re angry, they have a limited number of resources for expressing that
anger or letting it go. Almost anyone would feel a surge of overwhelming anger if their
house got broken into. On the other hand, not many people would throw their computer
across the room because their e-mail wouldn‘t work or give a close friend the silent

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treatment for a week because of canceled plans. If you‘re consistently pessimistic,


critical, frustrated, lashing out, cursing, or shutting others out in an attempt to avoid
anger, odds are you‘re one of those who angers easily.

Research has shown that some people are born with a lower frustration tolerance.
From a very early age they‘re easily irritated and very touchy. Others are raised in an
environment that is chaotic, abusive, or lacking in emotional communication. They were
never taught how to deal with their anger appropriately. Whatever the reason, some
people really are just more likely to anger over any and every annoyance, inconvenience,
injustice, etc. than others. People who have trouble controlling their anger aren‘t always
prone to angry outbursts, either. Anger can also come out as moodiness, sulking, talking
behind other‘s backs, and shutting down.

So, if angering too easily isn‘t determined by being a ―hothead‖ or blowing up


all the time, how do you know if you anger too easily? People who anger easily tend to
focus on the negatives in a situation—all the reasons they feel like they‘re being
disrespected, mistreated, or picked-on—even if these slights are imagined. They
practically blow a fuse out of nowhere.

If someone cuts them off, they focus on the fact that the other driver did that to
them instead of seeing that there are multiple sides to every story. It could be that the
other driver didn‘t see them or that they simply made a mistake, but someone with anger
control issues won‘t even let those possibilities cross their mind; they often think,
―They‘re doing it to me, not near me.‖ This focusing on the negatives and even
imagining slights when there are none gets the person angry at every turn. A person with
anger control issues also has a tendency to have really rigid rules about what is and is not
acceptable to them. We all need to have values and boundaries, but we also need to cut
others some slack. No one is perfect, and no one is going to live up to our expectations
all the time. If you find your blood boiling with people for making one or two mistakes
or not following your rules to the letter, you might have anger control problems. But
remember blowing a gasket is not the solution.

So what can you do?

There are a number of healthy ways to express and deal with your anger. If you
have trouble with too much anger, it‘s important to focus on your thoughts. Here are
some simple ways you can start putting your anger in perspective:

 Look at the other side. When you‘re really mad, looking at the situation
from the other person‘s point of view may be the last thing you want to
do, but offering some understanding can help you get a different
perspective and maybe not get so mad or at least do a slow burn.
 Would it stand up in court? Ask yourself if there is any evidence to
prove that the situation really is the way you think it is. Can you prove
that the driver who cut you off did it on purpose? Do you know beyond a
shadow of a doubt that your friend didn‘t return your phone call because
they don‘t respect your friendship? If not, then don‘t lose your cool over
it!
 Do I really want to do that? When you feel yourself getting angry and
about to flash with anger, ask yourself if that‘s what you really want to
do. Think about the outcome. If your way of dealing with anger is to
numb out watching too much TV, ask yourself if you‘ll feel any better. If
you want to vent your spleen, think about what that might do to the
relationship. Is there an answer? Your anger isn‘t always unjustified.

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Sometimes there really is a problem. The key is to seek a solution instead


of a momentary quick-fix. Lashing out or masking your feelings may feel
good in the moment, but they don‘t solve the problem. Instead, look for a
reasonable solution.

These are some simple answers, and they‘re going to look a little different in every
situation. The real key is to look for the positive factors that balance out the negative and
learn to let go of the little stuff.

Author: Nan Little

(Slightly adapted text available at: http://www.anxiety-and-depression


solutions.com/articles/health_and_wellness/Anger_Management_Strategies_that_Work.php

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APPENDIX 3d
WORKSHEET D

UNDERSTANDING CONCEPTUAL MOTIVATION IN ANGER IDIOMS

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APPENDIX 3e
WORKSHEET E
PRACTICE TASK 1
Match the beginnings of the idioms in Column A with their second parts in Column B.
What can you notice? (There might be more than one option per item in some cases).
COLUMN A COLUMN B

1. blow one‘s a. gasket

2. brim b. spleen

3. vent one‘s c. with anger

4. do a d. juice

5. blow a e. top

6. make one‘s f. lid

7. be hot h. fuse

8. lose one‘s i. slow burn

9. flash j. blood boil

10. stew in one‘s (own) k. under the collar

l. cool

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APPENDIX 3f
WORKSHEET F
PRACTICE TASK 1
TABULATION OF THE FORMAL CHARACTERISTICS OF ANGER
IDIOMS

1) Idioms with possessive Examples: blow one‘s top, blow one‘s


determiners (i.e. verb + possessive lid, vent one‘s spleen, lose one‘s cool,
determiner (e.g. your, one‘s, etc) stew in one‘s (own) juice, make one‘s
+ noun) one blood boil51

2) Idioms with a prepositional phrase Examples: brim with anger, flash with
(i.e. verb + preposition like ―in‖, anger, be hot under the collar
―with‖, etc + noun)

3) Idioms following the structure: Examples: blow a gasket, blow a fuse,


verb + indefinite article + noun somebody is doing a slow burn

51
The teacher might wish to proceed to an even deeper analysis of formal characteristics by initiating a
discussion about transitive/intransitive constructions or external causation (e.g. in the case of ―make
one‘ blood boil‖. However, this tabulation of formal characteristics is supposed to suffice as this lesson
emphasises FORM + MEANING + USE of idioms without overstressing one of these three aspects.

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APPENDIX 3g
WORKSHEET G
PRACTICE TASK 2
Work with your partner and try to group the idioms in the box below under the
metaphors that motivate them. Please write your answers inside or under the
circles that correspond to each metaphor.

Blow one’s lid, somebody is boiling with anger, somebody is simmering with range, be hot
under the collar, be steamed up, flash with anger, somebody is fuming, smoke coming out
of one’s ears, lose one’s cool, be fiery-tempered, be seething with anger, somebody’s anger
is smo(u)ldering, to fan the flames, to add fuel to the flames.

ANGER IS HEAT

ANGER IS A HOT FLUID


INA CONTAINER
ANGER IS FIRE

Possible unknown words:

simmer → to boil gently, or to cook something slowly by boiling it gently


seethe→(of a liquid) boil or be turbulent as if boiling / to feel an emotion, especially
anger, so strongly that you are almost shaking
smo(u)lder→ if something such as wood smoulders, it burns slowly without a flame

As defined by the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English 4th edition (2003)

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APPENDIX 3h
WORKSHEET H
PRODUCTION TASK 1
Look at the pictures that follow and the short descriptions below them. Each picture
describes an experience that could make you angry (or has made you angry in the
past). Choose one picture depicting such an experience and narrate to your partner the
incident that the photo depicts and how angry you would be/were by using at least
three idioms related to anger.

1. Your favourite football 2. You were waiting for an 3. You have just paid a
team has just lost the Cup! important call and your phone fortune for the most expensive
just ran out of battery! dish of a luxurious restaurant
but the food was a disaster!

4. Your wife has just burnt 5. You’ve just returned home 6. Your professor has failed
your favourite shirt. only to find that your house your final paper although you
has been broken into. are absolutely sure that there
was no problem with it!

7. Your computer has just 8. You just found out that 9. Waiting in the queue to pay
crashed and you’ve lost all of your boyfriend has cheated on your bill that expires today
your archives. you. while the cash register closes
in 30 minutes.

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10. You have just received 11. You’ve just been given the 12. Your little daughter has
your monthly credit card school reports of your son and just broken your expensive
statement and you just saw they seem anything but Murano vase; your only
that you have a debit of satisfactory! souvenir from Italy!
500.000$ for purchases that
your ex-wife has made!

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APPENDIX 3i

WORKSHEET I

PRODUCTION TASK 2 (Homework)

ANGER STORIES: POSTING A MINI-STORY ON FACEBOOK

While surfing on facebook, you stumbled upon a new group that you decided to join,
called Anger Management. After reading a couple of interesting stories on the group‘s
―wall‖, you decided to contribute your own ―anger story‖ about a recent experience
you had. Write your story (100-150 words) in the form of a facebook comment to be
posted on the group‘s wall and shared among your other facebook friends.

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APPENDIX 4
KEY TO THE TASKS OF THE LESSON
PLAN

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Presentation Stage

Warm-up Task 1

Accept Ss‘ answers as long as they are meaningful and coherent.

Warm-up Task 2

Accept Ss‘ answers as long as they are meaningful and coherent.

Warm-up Task 3

Accept Ss‘ answers as long as they are meaningful and coherent and as long as they
match the content of the text. Here follows a version of the text whereby all the
idiomatic expressions related to anger have been highlighted for your convenience.

TEXT

DON’T BLOW YOUR LID: ANGER MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES THAT WORK

You‘re in the grocery store, and someone nearly


bumps into you with their cart. Later, while driving down the highway, someone in a big
SUV cuts you off and nearly causes an accident. Then, when you get back to the office,
your computer is causing you problems—it just won‘t do what you want it to do.

Do you spend the rest of the afternoon fuming, thinking about how people really
ought to watch where they‘re going—or do you let it go? Do you race to catch up to the
reckless driver and try to cut him off or shake your fist at him—or do you lay back in
your seat and think, ―I‘m thankful I didn’t get into an accident!‖? Do you pound your
fists on your desk and contemplate throwing your computer across the room—or do you
take a few deep breaths and try to find someone to help you figure out the problem?
These might seem like silly examples, but how you choose to respond to your anger has
a big effect on every aspect of your life—and how you feel while you‘re living it.

Anger is a completely natural response, and everyone experiences anger from


time to time. In some situations, anger can have positive effects. It spurs us to take action
and change an unsatisfying situation, and it helps us fight the injustices we see in the
world. All great social movements started with a seed of anger; someone saw something

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that needed changing, and their anger over the mistreatment of others helped them take
the first steps toward liberation. But when we find ourselves brimming with anger on a
regular basis, it can have seriously negative effects—on our health, our relationships, and
our quality of life.

The goal here isn‘t to never get hot under the collar. The key to anger
management is understanding when you‘re angry and how to express that anger in a
healthy way. Lashing out, blowing your top, holding it all in, stewing in your own juice,
or acting out in passive-aggressive ways that allow you to seek revenge with a veneer of
niceness are all unhealthy ways of dealing with your anger. You can have too much or
too little anger, and both cause problems.

Too Much Anger: A Life of Frustration

Some people have too much anger. Or, more accurately, they anger very easily
and, once they‘re angry, they have a limited number of resources for expressing that
anger or letting it go. Almost anyone would feel a surge of overwhelming anger if their
house got broken into. On the other hand, not many people would throw their computer
across the room because their e-mail wouldn‘t work or give a close friend the silent
treatment for a week because of canceled plans. If you‘re consistently pessimistic,
critical, frustrated, lashing out, cursing, or shutting others out in an attempt to avoid
anger, odds are you‘re one of those who angers easily.

Research has shown that some people are born with a lower frustration tolerance.
From a very early age they‘re easily irritated and very touchy. Blowing a gasket was
always typical of them. Others are raised in an environment that is chaotic, abusive, or
lacking in emotional communication. They were never taught how to deal with their
anger appropriately. Whatever the reason, some people really are just more likely to
anger over any and every annoyance, inconvenience, injustice, etc. than others. People
who have trouble controlling their anger aren‘t always prone to angry outbursts, either.
Anger can also come out as moodiness, sulking, talking behind other‘s backs, and
shutting down.

So, if angering too easily isn‘t determined by being a ―hothead‖ or blowing up


all the time, how do you know if you anger too easily? People who anger easily tend to
focus on the negatives in a situation—all the reasons they feel like they‘re being
disrespected, mistreated, or picked-on—even if these slights are imagined. They
practically blow a fuse out of nowhere.

If someone cuts them off, they focus on the fact that the other driver did that to
them instead of seeing that there are multiple sides to every story. It could be that the
other driver didn‘t see them or that they simply made a mistake, but someone with anger
control issues won‘t even let those possibilities cross their mind; they often think,
―They‘re doing it to me, not near me.‖ This focusing on the negatives and even
imagining slights when there are none gets the person angry at every turn. A person with
anger control issues also has a tendency to have really rigid rules about what is and is not
acceptable to them. We all need to have values and boundaries, but we also need to cut
others some slack. No one is perfect, and no one is going to live up to our expectations

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all the time. If you find your blood boiling with people for making one or two mistakes
or not following your rules to the letter, you might have anger control problems. But
remember blowing a gasket is not the solution.

So what can you do?

There are a number of healthy ways to express and deal with your anger. If you
have trouble with too much anger, it‘s important to focus on your thoughts. Here are
some simple ways you can start putting your anger in perspective:

 Look at the other side. When you‘re really mad, looking at the situation
from the other person‘s point of view may be the last thing you want to
do, but offering some understanding can help you get a different
perspective and maybe not get so mad or at least do a slow burn.
 Would it stand up in court? Ask yourself if there is any evidence to
prove that the situation really is the way you think it is. Can you prove
that the driver who cut you off did it on purpose? Do you know beyond a
shadow of a doubt that your friend didn‘t return your phone call because
they don‘t respect your friendship? If not, then don‘t lose your cool over
it!
 Do I really want to do that? When you feel yourself getting angry and
about to flash with anger, ask yourself if that‘s what you really want to
do. Think about the outcome. If your way of dealing with anger is to
numb out watching too much TV, ask yourself if you‘ll feel any better. If
you want to vent your spleen, think about what that might do to the
relationship. Is there an answer? Your anger isn‘t always unjustified.
Sometimes there really is a problem. The key is to seek a solution instead
of a momentary quick-fix. Lashing out or masking your feelings may feel
good in the moment, but they don‘t solve the problem. Instead, look for a
reasonable solution.

These are some simple answers, and they‘re going to look a little different in every
situation. The real key is to look for the positive factors that balance out the negative and
learn to let go of the little stuff.

Author: Nan Little

(Slightly adapted text available at: http://www.anxiety-and-depression


solutions.com/articles/health_and_wellness/Anger_Management_Strategies_that_Work.php)

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Practice Stage

Practice Task 1

COLUMN A COLUMN B

1. blow one‘s e, f a. gasket

2. brim c b. spleen

3. vent one‘s b c. with anger

4. do a i d. juice

5. blow a a, h e. top

6. make one‘s j f. lid

7. be hot k h. fuse

8. lose one‘s l i. slow burn

9. flash c j. blood boil

10. stew in one‘s (own) d k. under the collar

l. cool

Practice Task 2

ANGER IS HEAT

ANGER IS FIRE

1. flash with anger


2. lose one‘s cool
3. be fiery-tempered
4. to fan the flames
5. to add fuel to the flames
6. be hot under the collar

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ANGER IS A HOT FLUID IN A CONTAINER

1. to blow one‘s lid


2. sb is boiling with anger
3. sb is simmering with range
4. be steamed up
5. sb is fuming
6. smoke coming out of one‘s ears
7. be seething with anger
8. sb‘s anger is smo(u)ldering

Production Stage

Production Task 1

Accept Ss‘ answers as long as they are meaningful and coherent and as long as they
include at least three of the newly-presented anger idioms.

Production Task 1

Accept Ss‘ texts as long as they are meaningful and coherent and as long as they
match the conventions associated with the text-type they were required to produce.

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APPENDIX 5
ABSTRACT IN GREEK

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* Περίληψη

Η παξνύζα κειέηε πξαγκαηεύεηαη ην δήηεκα ηωλ ηδηωκαηηζκώλ ζηε γιώζζα


κέζα από ην πξίζκα ηεο Γλωζηαθήο Γιωζζνινγίαο (Cognitive Linguistics) θαη
εηδηθόηεξα κέζα από ην πξίζκα ηεο γλωζηαθήο πξνζέγγηζεο ηωλ ηδηωκαηηζκώλ
(cognitive approach to idioms). Σθνπόο ηεο κειέηεο είλαη λα θαηαδείμεη όηη ε
γλωζηαθή πξνζέγγηζε ηωλ ηδηωκαηηζκώλ παξνπζηάδεη εμαηξεηηθό ελδηαθέξνλ ωο πξνο
ηελ κέζνδν δηδαζθαιίαο ηνπο ζηελ μελόγιωζζε ηάμε. Ωο εθ ηνύηνπ, ε ελ ιόγω
δηαηξηβή απνζθνπεί ζην λα παξνπζηάζεη κηα θξηηηθή αλαζθόπεζε ηωλ δηαθνξεηηθώλ
πξνζεγγίζεωλ πνπ έρνπλ πξνηαζεί γηα ηελ κειέηε θαη ηελ αλάιπζε ηωλ ηδηωκαηηζκώλ
θαη, θπξίωο, λα παξαζέζεη πξαθηηθά παξαδείγκαηα γιωζζηθώλ αζθήζεωλ εληαγκέλα
ζε έλα ιεπηνκεξέο θαη απηνηειέο ζρέδην καζήκαηνο.
Πξνηείλνληαο, ινηπόλ, παξαδείγκαηα εθαξκνζηκόηεηαο ηεο γλωζηαθήο
πξνζέγγηζεο ηωλ ηδηωκαηηζκώλ ζηελ μελόγιωζζε ηάμε, ε ζπγθεθξηκέλε κειέηε
επηρεηξεί λα "άξεη ηνλ κύζν ηεο απζαηξεηόηεηαο" (arbitrariness) πνπ επί καθξόλ
ζθίαδε ηνπο ηδηωκαηηζκνύο, ζέηνληάο ηνπο ζην πεξηζώξην ηεο γιωζζηθήο έξεπλαο θαη
κειέηεο. Μέζα από ηελ γλωζηαθή πξνζέγγηζε ηωλ ηδηωκαηηζκώλ παξαηεξνύκε όηη
κεγάιε κεξίδα ηνπο δελ έρεη ζπζηαζεί απζαίξεηα θαη ηπραία, αιιά αληίζεηα απνηειεί
γιωζζηθή πξαγκάηωζε ηεο ελλνηαθήο θηλεηξνδόηεζήο ηνπο (conceptual motivation).
Η ελλνηαθή θηλεηξνδόηεζε ηωλ ηδηωκαηηζκώλ απνηειεί ίζωο ηελ κεγαιύηεξε
ζπλεηζθνξά ηεο γλωζηαθήο πξνζέγγηζεο, θαζώο θαηαδεηθλύεη όηη ε ζεκαζία ηωλ
ηδηωκαηηζκώλ είλαη απνηέιεζκα γλωζηαθώλ κεραληζκώλ (cognitive mechanisms)
όπωο ε κεηαθνξά, ε κεηωλπκία θ.ά. Με δεδνκέλε ινηπόλ ηελ θηλεηξνδόηεζε ηεο
ζεκαζίαο ηνπο, νη ηδηωκαηηζκνί εληάζζνληαη πιένλ ζε έλα ζπζηεκαηνπνηεκέλν
δίθηπν πνπ αληηβαίλεη ζηελ παξνπζίαζε ηνπο ωο ηδηόηππωλ - θαη κεηαμύ ηνπο
αζύλδεηωλ - γιωζζηθώλ εθθξάζεωλ, πνπ απνηεινύζε θαη ηνλ παξαδνζηαθό ηξόπν
ηεο δηδαθηηθήο ηνπο πξνζέγγηζεο ζηελ μελόγιωζζε ηάμε.
Σε απηή ηελ δηαηξηβή, ινηπνλ, επηδηώθω λα ππνγξακκίζω ηελ δηδαθηηθή
εθαξκνζηκόηεηα ηεο γλωζηαθήο πξνζέγγηζεο ζηελ μελόγιωζζε ηάμε. Τν ζρέδην
καζήκαηνο θαη ην πιηθό δηδαζθαιίαο πνπ πξνηείλω πξνο εθαξκνγή βαζίδεηαη ζηελ
παξνπζίαζε ηωλ αγγιηθώλ ηδηωκαηηζκώλ πνπ ζρεηίδνληαη κε ηελ έθθξαζε ηνπ ζπκνύ
(anger idioms) θαη θηλεηξνδνηνύληαη από ηελ ελλνηαθή κεηαθνξά ANGER IS HEAT
θαη ηηο δπν πην ζπγθεθξηκέλεο εθθάλζεηο ηεο ANGER IS FIRE θαη ANGER IS A
HOT FLUID IN A CONTAINER. Ταπηόρξνλα, ζην πιαίζην ηεο ζεωξεηηθήο θαη

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πξαθηηθήο εμέηαζεο ηνπ δεηήκαηνο, ππνγξακκίδω ηνπο βαζύηεξνπο ζπζρεηηζκνύο


κεηαμύ ηεο γλωζηαθήο πξνζέγγηζεο ηωλ ηδηωκαηηζκώλ θαη θεληξηθώλ ελλνηώλ ηεο
Εθαξκνζκέλεο Γιωζζνινγίαο, όπωο νη ζηξαηεγηθέο κάζεζεο (learning strategies), ηα
καζεζηαθά ζηπι (learning styles), ε επηθνηλωληαθή ηθαλόηεηα (communicative
competence), θά.
Σπκπεξαζκαηηθά ινηπόλ, δεδνκέλνπ νηη ε παξνύζα εξγαζία αθνξά ζηελ
δηδαζθαιία ηωλ ηδηωκαηηζκώλ θαη ηελ αλίρλεπζε ηωλ πνιππνιηηηζκηθώλ ζηνηρείωλ
πνπ απηνί ζπρλά θωδηθνπνηνύλ, είλαη δπλαηόλ λα ιεηηνπξγήζεη ωο αθεηεξία γηα ηελ
δηεξεύλεζε θαη άιιωλ πξνεθηάζεωλ ηεο γλωζηαθήο πξνζέγγηζεο ζηε δηδαθηηθή ηωλ
ηδηωκαηηζκώλ, όπωο ε δεκηνπξγία δηδαθηηθνύ πιηθνύ (materials' design) θαη ε
αλάπηπμε γιωζζηθώλ ηεζη θαη θαηάιιειεο ηππνινγίαο αζθήζεωλ (test development
and task design).

Λέξεις κλειδιά: Γλωζηαθή Γιωζζνινγία, ηδηωκαηηζκνί, ελλνηαθή κεηαθνξά,


θηλεηξνδόηεζε, δηδαθηηθή ηεο μέλεο γιώζζαο, ζρέδην καζήκαηνο - πξαθηηθέο
εθαξκνγέο.

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