Teaching L2 Spanish idioms with semantic motivation: should this be done proactively or retroactively?

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This paper reports on a small-scale experiment conducted to assess two pedagogical approaches to teaching idioms. Using a counter-balanced study design, 30 English-speaking learners of L2 Spanish participated in two pedagogical interventions intended to enhance the students’ cognitive engagement by focusing on the literal-figurative meaning connection of 20 idioms. One treatment invited learners to hypothesize about that connection retroactively after presenting them with the figurative meaning (retroactive condition), and the other one invited them to exploit the literal meaning and guess the figurative meaning proactively (proactive condition). Results show that both treatments resulted in significant pretest to post-test gains. Although results suggest a trend in which participants obtained higher scores in terms of meaning retention when the correct figurative meaning was given from the start and the literal-figurative connection established retroactively, the difference between both groups’ immediate and delayed recall scores fell short of significance.
Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)1639-1667
Aantal pagina's29
TijdschriftInternational Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching
Volume61
Nummer van het tijdschrift4
Vroegere onlinedatum10 mei 2022
DOI's
StatusPublished - 1 nov 2023

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© 2022 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston.

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