The analysis and classification of English idioms : with special reference to the comprehension of English idioms by advanced Syrian learners of English.
The study deals with English idioms from a pedagogical point of view. It draws attention to
the fact that the use of idioms in a language is such a widespread phenomenon that we
cannot continue to ignore them especially in disciplines such as language teaching and
language learning. The study attempts to analyse the phenomenon of idioms diachronically
and synchronically; to explain the process of idiom comprehension by foreign learners.
The subjects of the study were Syrian undergraduates of English, who were largely unaware
of the use of idioms among native speakers of English, since the foreign-language teaching
system did not provide the chance where learners could be in frequent contact with the
native speakers of the foreign idiom.
The first stage of the research presents a brief swvey of some perspectives on
idioms as a linguistic phenomenon. It begins with an examination of earlier views of idioms.
At the end of this stage, a working definition of the idiom is suggested. The second stage
smve)(S processes of idiom formation and explains how idioms have been dealt with in
psycholinguistics and sociolinguistics, revealing the procedures for processing and
understanding idioms. The third stage is empirical and the goal of which is to demonstrate
how English idioms pose a problem in the process of teaching them to foreign learners. The
fourth stage of the research is concerned with analysing idioms synchronically. The view
maintained at this stage is that the relationship between idiomatic expressions and their
meanings is not arbitrary, since these idiomatic meanings can be attained through an appeal
to conceptual metaphor theories and the semantic constraint approach. The fifth stage is
dedicated to the analysis of the findings which resulted from the investigation in the
previous stages. Following on from this analysis, some suitable methods and effective
activities for teaching English idioms to foreign learners are proposed.
In brie£: the research on idioms in this study could prove fruitful in inspiring potential
applications in pedagogy and language learning; in lexicography; in translation; and in