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Academic Paper

Title: Mnemonic Effectiveness of CL-motivated Picture-elucidation Tasks in Foreign Learners' Acquisition of English Phrasal Verbs
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Author: Hussein M. Farsani
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Institution: University of Isfahan
Author: Ahmad Moinzadeh
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Institution: University of Isfahan
Author: Mansoor Tavakoli
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: University of Isfahan
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics
Subject Language: English
Abstract: Learning the behavior/meaning of English phrasal verbs can prove challenging to the foreign language learner. This is mainly because such verbs, in their combinations with various prepositional/adverbial particles, often exhibit figurative senses not readily transparent to the learner. The absence of a culturally/socially rich experiential language setting giving rise to image-schematic patterns, as conceived in Cognitive Linguistic theory, might be an inhibiting factor in this regard. The present study takes this issue as its point of departure and examines whether pedagogical, picture-cued tasks revealing image-schematic concepts behind phrasal verbs would facilitate learners' inferences from their concrete to more abstract senses. It also aims to find out if such tasks would help enhance participants' acquisition and use of such verbs in the long run. For this purpose, 56 intermediate-level students aged 12-18 were randomly selected to go through the process of learning 42 phrasal verbs in an experimental or a control group each comprising 28 learners. Comparison of the results from the tests reveal a positive effect for picture-elucidation tasks – in contrast to more traditional use of discrete dictionary definitions – raising learners' awareness toward image-schematic concepts behind English phrasal verbs. The study also carries implications for foreign language pedagogy as the tasks designed for the purposes of this study could be effectively used and further explored within the framework of Task-Based Language Teaching.
Type: Individual Paper
Status: Completed
Publication Info: Theory and Practice in Language Studies, Vol 2, No 3 (2012), 498-509, Mar 2012doi:10.4304/tpls.2.3.498-509

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