Document Type : Research Articles


1 Ph.D. Candidate in English Language Teaching, Department of English Language, Faculty of Literature and Humanities, Imam Khomeini International University, Qazvin, Iran

2 Associate Professor in English Language Teaching, Department of English Language, Faculty of Literature and Humanities, Imam Khomeini International University, Qazvin, Iran

3 Assistant Professor English Language Teaching, Department of English Language, Faculty of Literature and Humanities, Qazvin, Iran


Finding more effective ways of teaching second language idioms has been a long standing concern of many teaching practitioners and researchers. This study was an endeavorto explore the effects of three linguistic mnemonic devices (etymological elaboration, keyword method, and translation) on EFL learners’ recognition and recall of English idioms. To achieve the purpose of the study, ninety male and female EFL learnersat intermediate level of language proficiency who were preparing themselves for IELTS were selected. They were in three groups of thirty members each. Each groupwas randomly assigned to one of the treatment conditions and was taught idioms using one of the above-mentioned linguistic mnemonic devices. The one-way ANOVA procedurewas used to analyze the data. The results showed statistically significant differences between these techniques, with the etymological elaboration method being the most effective of all, on both recognition and recall of idioms. The findings of the study can have implications for textbook designers, curriculum developers, teachers, and learners.


Main Subjects

Article Title [فارسی]

بررسی روشهای یادیار زبانی در یادگیری اصطلاحات زبان دوم

Authors [فارسی]

  • مریم احمدی 1
  • عباسعلی زارعی 2
  • رجب اسفندیاری 3

1 دکترای آموزش زبان انگلیسی، گروه زبان انگلیسی، دانشکدۀ ادبیات و علوم انسانی، دانشگاه بین المللی امام خمینی (ره)، قزوین، ایران

2 دانشیار آموزش زبان انگلیسی، گروه زبان انگلیسی، دانشکدۀ ادبیات و علوم انسانی، دانشگاه بین المللی امام خمینی (ره)، قزوین، ایران

3 استادیار آموزش زبان انگلیسی، گروه زبان انگلیسی، دانشکدۀ ادبیات و علوم انسانی، دانشگاه بین المللی امام خمینی (ره)، قزوین، ایران

Abstract [فارسی]

یافتن روشهای موثر در آموزش اصطلاحات زبان دوم در زمره دغدغه های مستمر بسیاری از محققین و پژوهشگران در این حوزه بوده است. پژوهش حاضر در جهت بررسی تاثیرات سه تکنیکیادیار زبانی (شامل ریشهیابی، روش کلیدواژه و ترجمه) بر بخاطر سپاری و تولید اصطلاحات زبان انگلیسی توسط فراگیران این زبان خارجی بوده است. برای نیل به این هدف، نود فراگیر زبان انگلیسی دختر و پسر که در سطح متوسط زبانی بود ودرحال آمادگی برای آزمون آیلتس بودند، شرکت نمودند.این شرکت کنندگان به سه گروه سی نفره تقسیم بندی شدند. شرکت کنندگان به صورت تصادفی در هریک از گروه های آموزشی، به فراگیری اصطلاحات زبانی انگلیسی با کمک یکی از روشهاییادیار زبانی خاص از موارد یادشده پرداختند.روش آماری نتایج ANOVA برای تحلیل نتایج مورد استفاده قرار گرفت. این تحلیل حاکی  از برتری روش ریشهیابی بر سایر روشها در بخاطرسپاری و تولید اصطلاحات بود.نتایج این پژوهش به طور بالقوه  می تواند پیامدهای آموزشی مفیدی برای طراحان کتابهای آموزشی، پدیدآورندگان برنامه های آموزشی، مدرسین و زبان آموزان داشته باشد.

Keywords [فارسی]

  • ریشه یابی
  • تولید اصطلاحات
  • بخاطرسپاری اصطلاحات
  • روش کلیدواژه
  • روشهای یادیار زبانی
  • ترجمه
Ammer, C. (1997). The American Heritage dictionary of idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Baddeley, A.D. (1999). Essentials of human memory. East Sussex: Psychology Press.
Bagheri, M. S. &Fazel, I. (2010).Effects of etymological elaboration on EFL learners’ comprehension and retention of idioms.Applied Linguistics, 14(1), 45-55.
Bagheri, M,&Fazel, I. (2011).EFL beliefs about translation and its use as a strategy in writing.Reading Matrix: An International Online Journal, 11(3), 292-301.
Bakken, J.P., & Simpson, C. G. (2011). Mnemonic strategies: Success for the young-adult learner. The Journal of Human Resource and Adult Learning, 17(2), 79-85.
Baleghizadeh, S.,& Mohammad Bagheri, M. (2012).The Effect of etymology elaboration on EFL learners’ comprehension and retention.The Southeast Asian Journal of English Language Studies, 18(1), 23-33.
Boers, F. (2001).Remembering figurative idioms by hypothesizing about their origin.Prospect, 16(3), 35-43.
Boers, F., Demecheleer, M., &Eyckmans, J. (2004).Cross-cultural variations as a variable in comprehending and remembering figurative idioms.European Journal of English Studies, 8(3), 375-388.
Boers, F., Eyckmans, J., Kappel, J., Stengers, H., &Demecheleer, M. (2006). Formulaic sequences and perceived oral proficiency: Putting a lexical approach to the test. Language Teaching Research, 10(3), 245-261.
Boers, F., Eyckmans, J., &Stengers, H. (2007). Presenting figurative idioms with a touch of etymology: more than mere mnemonics?Language Teaching Research, 11(1), 43-62.
Boers, F., Lindstromberg, S., &Eyckmans, J. (2014).Some explanations for the slow acquisition of L2 collocations.Vigo International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 11(1), 41-46.
Boers, F. (2013). Cognitive Linguistic approaches to teaching vocabulary: Assessment and integration. Language Teaching, 46(2), 208-224.
Boers, F., & Webb, S. (2015). Gauging the semantic transparency of idioms: Do natives and learners see eye to eye? In R. Heredia, & A. Cieslicka (Eds.), Bilingual figurative language processing (pp. 368–92). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Brenner, G. (2013). Webster’s new world American idioms handbook. New York, NY: Webster’s New World.
Cacciari, C., &Corradini, P. (2015). Literal analysis and idiom retrieval in ambiguous idioms processing: A reading-time study. Journal of CognitivePsychology,27(7),797–811.
Carrol, G., & Conklin, K. (2014). Getting your wires crossed: Evidence for fast processing of L1 idioms in an L2. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 17(4), 784-797.
Carrol, G., Conklin, K., &Gyllstad, H. (2016). Found in translation: The influence of the L1 on the reading of idioms in a L2. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 38(3), 403-443.
Carrol, G., & Conklin, K. (2017). Cross language priming extends to formulaic units: Evidence from eye-tracking suggests that this idea “has legs”. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 20(2), 299-317.
Chen, Y. C., & Lai, H. L. (2013).Teaching English idioms as metaphors through cognitive-oriented methods: A case in an EFL writing class.English Language Teaching, 6(6), 13-20.
Cheng, J., & Matthews, J. (2018).The relationship between three measures of L2 vocabulary knowledge and L2 listening and reading.Language Testing, 35(1), 3-25.
Cohen, J. W. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences(2ndedition). Hillsdale, NL: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Congos, D. H. (2011).College level study skills inventory. Orlando, FL: University of Central Florida.
Conklin, K., & Schmitt, N. (2008). Formulaic sequences: Are they processed more quickly than nonformulaic language by native and nonnative speakers? Applied linguistics, 29(1), 72-89.
Cooper, T. C. (1999). Processing of idioms by L2 learners of English.TESOL Quarterly, 33(2), 233-262.
Croft, W., & Cruise, A. (2004).Cognitive linguistics. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Dobrovol’skij, D., &Piirainen, E. (2005).Cognitive theory of metaphor and idiom analysis.Jezikoslovlje, 6(1), 7-35.
Durrant, P., & Schmitt, N. (2009). To what extent do native and non-native writers make use of collocations?.IRAL-International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching, 47(2), 157-177.
Ellis, N. C., Simpson‐Vlach, R. I. T. A., & Maynard, C. (2008). Formulaic language in native and second language speakers: Psycholinguistics, corpus linguistics, and TESOL.TESOL Quarterly, 42(3), 375-396.
Erman, B., & Warren, B. (2000).The idiom principle and the open choice principle.Text- Interdisciplinary Journal for the Study of Discourse, 20(1), 29-62.
Flavell, L.,&Flavell, R. (1992).Dictionary of idioms and their origins. London: Kyle Cathie Limited.
Gairns, R., & Redman, S. (2011). Idioms and phrasal verbs: Intermediate. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Glister, E. C. (1986).A Collection of Original Stories and Lessons for Teaching Idiomatic Expressions.MATESOL Collection. 624.Retrieved from
Golaghaei, N., &Kakolian, S. (2015). The effect of visual and etymological treatments on learning decomposable idioms among EFL learners.International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature, 4(5), 72-81.
Granger, S., &Bestgen, Y. (2014). The use of collocations by intermediate vs. advanced non-native writers: A bigram-based study. International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching, 52(3), 229-252.
Haghshenas, M. S. M., &Hashemian, M. (2016). A comparative study of the effectiveness of two strategies of etymological elaboration and pictorial elucidation on idiom learning: A case of young EFL Iranian learners. English Language Teaching, 9(8), 140-151.
Hinkel, E. (2017). Teaching idiomatic expressions and phrases: Insights and techniques.Iranian Journal of Language Teaching Research, 5(3), 45-59.
Hsu, W. (2014). The most frequent opaque formulaic sequences in English-medium college textbooks. System, 47, 146-161.
Jack, A. (2005). Red herrings and white elephants. New York: HarperCollins Publishers.
Karimian, Z., &Talebinejad, M. R. (2013).Students’ use of translation as a learning strategy in an EFL classroom.Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 4(3), 605-610.
Köksal, O., &Çekiç, A. (2014).The effects of the mnemonic keyword method on 8th graders’ L2 vocabulary learning.Journal of International Scientific Publications, 12, 1030-1047.
Kövecses, Z. (2002). Cognitive-linguistic comments on metaphor identification. Language and Literature, 11(1), 74-78.
Kövecses, Z. (2010). Metaphor: A practical introduction. New York: Oxford University Press.
Kroll, J. F., Van Hell, J. G., Tokowicz, N., & Green, D. W. (2010). The revised hierarchical model: A critical review and assessment. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 13(3), 373-381.
Kuder, S. J. (2017). Vocabulary instruction for secondary students with reading disabilities: An updated research review. Learning Disability Quarterly, 40(3), 155-164.
Liao, P. (2006). EFL learners’ beliefs about and strategy use of translation in English learning.RELC Journal, 37(2), 191-215.
Liontas, J. I. (2017). Why teach idioms? A challenge to the profession.Iranian Journal of Language Teaching Research, 5(3), 5-25.
Marqués-Aguado, T., &Solís-Becerra, J. A. (2013). An overview of translation in language teaching methods: Implications for EFL in secondary education in the region of Murcia. Revista de Lingüística y LenguasAplicadas, 8(1), 38-48.
Martinez, R., & Murphy, V. A. (2011). Effect of frequency and idiomaticity on second language reading comprehension.TESOL Quarterly, 45(2), 267-290.
Martinez, R. (2013). A framework for the inclusion of multi-word expressions in ELT.ELT Journal, 67(2), 184-198.
Matthews, J., & Cheng, J. (2015). Recognition of high frequency words from speech as a predictor of L2 listening comprehension. System, 52, 1-13.
Moreno, E. M. G. (2011). The role of etymology in the teaching of idioms related to colors in an L2. Porta Linguarum, 16, 19-32.
Nikolov, M. (2009).Early learning of modern foreign languages: Processes and outcomes. Bristol: multilingual Matters.
Nippold, M. A. (2006). Language development in school-age children, adolescents, and adults.In K. Brown (Ed.), Encyclopedia of language and linguistics(2nd ed., Volume 6, Article No 0852) (pp. 368–372). Oxford, UK: Elsevier Publishing.
Noroozi, I., &Salehi, H. (2013).The effect of the etymological elaboration and rote memorization on learning idioms by Iranian EFL learners.Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 4(4), 845-851.
O’Dell, F., & McCarthy, M. (2010).English idioms in use (Advanced). Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
Paivio, A. (1990). Mental representations: A dual coding approach. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Pellicer-Sánchez, A., & Schmitt, N. (2010). Incidental vocabulary acquisition from an authentic novel : Do Things Fall Apart ? Reading in a Foreign Language, 22(1), 31–55.
Peters, E., & Webb, S. (2018). Incidental vocabulary acquisition through viewing L2 television and factors that affect learning.Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 40(3), 551-577.
Pillai, N. R. (2017). Using mnemonics to improve vocabulary, boost memory and enhance creativity in the ESL classroom. The English Teacher, 38(22), 62 -83.
Pritchett, L. K., Vaid, J., &Tosun, S. (2016). Of black sheep and white crows: Extending the bilingual dual coding theory to memory for idioms. Cogent Psychology, 3(1), 1135512.
Pulido, D.,&Hambrick, D. Z. (2008). The “virtuous” circle: Modeling individual differences in L2 reading and vocabulary development. Reading in a Foreign Language, 20(2), 164-190.
Rafieyan, V. (2018).Knowledge of formulaic sequences as a predictor of language proficiency.International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature, 7(2), 64-69.
Razmjoo, S. A., Songhori, M. H., &Bahremand, A. (2016).The Effect of two attention-drawing techniques on learning English idioms.Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 7(5), 1043–1050.
Read, J. (2000). Assessing vocabulary. Cambridge: Cambridge university press.
ReisiGahroei, F., & Tabatabaei, O. (2013).Impact of L2 film instruction and English idiom etymology on Iranian EFL learners’ idiom learning.Iranian Journal of Research in English Language Teaching, 1(1), 45-61.
Richards, J., & Schmidt, R. (2010).Longman dictionary of language teaching & applied linguistics (4th edition). Essex: Pearson Education Limited.
Rodriguez, M., &Sadowki, M. (2000).Effects of rote, context, keyword, and context/keyword methods on retention of vocabulary in EFL classrooms.Language Learning, 50(2), 385-412.
Sánchez-López, E. (2015). Phraseologization as a process of semantic change.Catalan Journal of Linguistics, 14, 159-177.
Schmitt, N. (2008). Instructed second language vocabulary learning.Language Teaching Research, 12(3), 329-363.
Schmitt, N., Jiang, X., &Grabe, W. (2011).The percentage of words known in a text and reading comprehension.The Modern Language Journal, 95(1), 26-43.
Scruggs, T. E., Mastropieri, M. A., Berkeley, S. L., &Marshak, L. (2010). Mnemonic strategies: Evidence-based practice and practice-based evidence. Intervention in School and Clinic, 46(2), 79-86.
Shapiro, A. M., & Waters, D. L. (2005).An investigation of the cognitive processes underlying the keyword method of foreign vocabulary learning.Language Teaching Research, 9(2), 129-146.
Siyanova-Chanturia, A. (2015). On the ‘holistic’ nature of formulaic language.Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory, 11(2), 285-301.
Steinel, M.P., Hulstijn, J.H., &Steinel, W. (2007). Second language idiom learning in a paired-associate paradigm: Effects of direction of learning, direction of testing, idiom imageability, and idiom transparency. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 29, 449–484.
Stengers, H., Boers, F., Housen, A., &Eyckmans, J. (2011). Formulaic sequences and L2 oral proficiency: Does the type of target language influence the association?.IRAL-International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching, 49(4), 321-343.
Stengers, H., Deconinck, J., Boers, F., &Eyckmans, J. (2014). Does copying idioms promote their retention? Computer Assisted Language Learning, 29(2), 1-13.
Swanson, E., Hairrell, A., Kent, S., Ciullo, S., Wanzek, J. A., & Vaughn, S. (2014). A synthesis and meta-analysis of reading interventions using social studies content for students with learning disabilities. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 47(2), 178-195.
Szczepaniak, R., & Lew, R. (2011).The role of imagery in dictionaries of idioms.Applied Linguistics, 32(3), 323-347.
Taylor, J. R. (2002). Cognitive grammar. New York: Oxford University Press.
Therrien, W. J., Taylor, J. C., Watt, S., &Kaldenberg, E. R. (2014).Science instruction for students with emotional and behavioral disorders.Remedial and Special Education, 35(1), 15-27.
Thompson, I. (1987). Memory in language learning.In A. Wenden&J. Rubin (Eds.), Learner strategies in language learning (pp. 15-30).New Jersey: Prentic-Hall.
Timofeeva-Timofeev, L. (2012). El significadofraseológico.Entorno a unmodeloexplicativo y aplicado. Madrid: EdicionesLiceus.
Van Hell, J. G., &Mahn, A. C. (1997). Keyword mnemonics versus rote rehearsal: Learning concrete and abstract foreign words by experienced and inexperienced learners. Language Learning, 47(3), 507-546.
Vasiljevic, Z. (2015). Teaching and learning idioms in L2: From theory to practice. Mextesol Journal, 39(4), 1-24.
Webb, S., & Chang, A. (2015). Second language vocabulary learning through extensive reading with audio support: How do frequency and distribution of occurrence affect learning? Language Teaching Research, 19(6), 667–686.
Webb, S., Newton, J., & Chang, A. (2013).Incidental learning of collocation.Language Learning, 63(1), 91–120.
Wei, Z. (2015). Does teaching mnemonics for vocabulary learning make a difference? Putting the keyword method and the word part technique to the test.Language Teaching Research, 19(1), 43-69.
Wolter, B., &Gyllstad, H. (2011). Collocational links in the L2 mental lexicon and the influence of L1 intralexical knowledge. Applied Linguistics, 32(4), 430-449.
Wolter, B., &Gyllstad, H. (2013). Frequency of input and L2 collocational processing: A comparison of congruent and incongruent collocations. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 35(3), 451-482.
Wood, D. (2010). Formulaic language and second language speech fluency.London: Continuum International Publishing Group.
Wray, A. (2002). Formulaic language and the lexicon. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Wray, A. (2012). What do we (think we) know about formulaic language? An evaluation of the current state of play.Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 32, 231-254.
Wyra, M., Lawson, M. J., &Hungi, N (2007). The mnemonic keyword method: The effects of bidirectional retrieval training and of ability to image on foreign language vocabulary recall. Learning and Instruction, 17, 360-371.
Zarei, A. A., &Keysan, F. (2016).The effect of mnemonic and mapping techniques on L2 vocabulary learning.Applied Research on English Language, 5(1), 17-32.
Zarei, A. A., &Rahimi, N. (2012).Idioms: Etymology, contextual pragmatic clues and lexical knowledge in focus. Germany: Lambert Academic Publishing.
Zarei, A. A., &Ramezankhani, Z. (2018).The comparative effects of mnemonic keyword method, storytelling, and semantic organization on L2 idiom learning.Teaching English Language, 12(1), 31-60.
Zhang, D. (2012). Vocabulary and grammar knowledge in second language reading comprehension: A structural equation modeling study. The Modern Language Journal, 96(4), 558-575.
Zolfagharkhani, M., & Moghadam, R. G. (2011).The effect of etymology instruction on vocabulary learning of upper-intermediate EFL Iranian learners.Canadian Social Science, 7(6), 1-9.
Zyzik, E. (2011). Second language idiom learning: The effects of lexical knowledge and pedagogical sequencing. Language Teaching Research, 15(4), 413-433.