Author: Pan, Xie Molly
Title: English idioms acquisition by Chinese young learners through conceptual metaphor approach
Advisors: Tay, Dennis (ENGL)
Degree: M.A.
Year: 2016
Subject: English language -- Idioms
English language -- Terms and phrases
English language -- Study and teaching (Primary)
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Department of English
Pages: iii, 67 pages : color illustrations
Language: English
Abstract: In recent years, teaching English idioms to young learners turns out to be an exigent issue for many English language teachers in mainland China due to a lack of insightful teaching approach as a result of many years' neglect of English idioms. Inspired by Cognitive Linguistics, a Conceptual Metaphor(CM) approach to English idioms has been claimed by many studies (Boers, 2000; Li, 2003) to be useful in teaching idioms. For Chinese young learners, however, there are insufficient studies that proposed an effective teaching approach to English idioms. This quasi-experimental study investigated the learning effect and learning experience of Conceptual Metaphor approach on the acquisition of second language (L2) English idioms. Forty-three Chinese primary school learners of English at two English proficiency levels participated in this research. Twenty-one learners at relatively high English proficiency levels were divided into two groups, in which nine learners formed an experimental group and twelve learners formed a control group. Other twenty-two learners at relatively low English proficiency levels formed one experimental group and one control group, with eleven participants respectively. Every group was given 35 minutes of instruction on target idioms, namely idioms about anger. In order to determine the learning effects of traditional teaching approach (memorizing functional usage) and Conceptual Metaphor approach, tests including pre-test, immediate post test and one-week delay test, were used as research tools. Data collected from tests was analyzed by two-way ANOVA, using SPSS version 23.0. As for the exploration of learning experience, questionnaire, drawings and a semistructured interview for the teacher were designed, conducted and analyzed. The analysis of research data illustrated that a CM teaching approach can facilitate the learning of English idioms for Chinese young learners and leads to a more engaging and active class. In the light of the tests results, the researcher also explored the underlying explanations for the effectiveness of CM teaching approach and discussed pedagogical implications from this research. Therefore, the present study, as an attempt to propose an effective teaching approach to English idioms for Chinese young learners, is not only of practical value but also makes contributions to the application of Cognitive Linguistics.
Rights: All rights reserved
Access: restricted access

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