Idiomaticity as a Language Learning Barrier: The EFL Context of Saudi Arabia

  •  Abdalla Elkheir Elgobshawi    


The aim of this paper is to investigate the impact of Idiomaticity on language learning and the extent to which it can be a language learning barrier. It contrasts the perspective of language teachers and the attitude of language learners regarding how idioms can influence language learning. The theoretical framework provides a description of the general properties of English idiomatic expressions and shows the relevance of idiomaticity to linguistic theory.

The paper is based on an analytical analysis and follows a quantitative approach in which two questionnaires are used to collect the data. The two questionnaires are administered to two independent samples: 20 participants representing ELT teachers at the tertiary level and 80 subjects representing Saudi EFL college students.

The data are then analyzed using SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences).

The study reveals learners’ reasonable consensus on the issues assessed. They generally acknowledge the significance of idioms for language learning but with a general dissatisfaction with their status in learning and teaching contexts. Both teachers and learners view idioms as odd pieces of language that lack a uniform character and do not receive due attention in language syllabi and curricula. Teachers give different ratings on the pedagogical value of idioms, but they generally show low interest in teaching them.

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