Getting to Grips with Idioms: Greek Learners vis-à-vis English Idioms

Despoina Panou


The present paper aims at examining Greek learners’ comprehension and production errors in L2 idiom learning. To this end, four exercises – two focusing on receptive skills and two on productive ones – were distributed to 50 Greek native speakers of advanced English Proficiency in order to assess which idiom-type(s) and exercises cause the biggest problem to Greek learners. It was shown that L2 learners made more errors in idiom-production exercises than in comprehension-based ones and that the biggest error percentage was found in idioms with both structural and semantic dissimilarity to L1 idioms. These findings suggest that Greek learners of English tend to understand the meaning of L2 idiomatic expressions through the use of contextual information and conceptual knowledge but are unable to use them in their own language production, thus making structural, grammatical and contextual mistakes.

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International Journal of English Language Teaching ISSN 2329-7913 (Print) ISSN 2329-7921 (Online)

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