Comprehension & interpretation of proverbs in L2 by Cieslicka, Anna.(2002) Rebecca Chiu General question What is the comprehension & interpretation of proverbs by L2 learners?
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*The Extended Conceptual Base Theory (ECBT)
*The Conceptual Metaphor Hypothesis.
1. Computation of the literal meaning of the utterance
*relevant background knowledge
* learnersNumerous recent reaction-time studies(Kemper 1987, Gibbs 1986, Glass 1983)have repeatedly shown that figurative utterances need not take longer time to process.
*Honeck (1999): the expression’s learnersfigurative meaning is understood faster than its literal meaning.Direct Access Model: figurative meanings are automatically accessed from memory*Lima 1984, Estill & Kemper 1982:Lack of difference between literal and figurative processing timeParallel Model: both literal and figurative meanings are generated independently and simultaneously.
Purpose of Current Work learners*Which of the opposing theories (EBCT vs. CMH) offers a better explanation for L2 proverb comprehension?*By replicating Gibbs’ proverb study: How do bilingualisms perform on a mental imagery task?
Two contrasting accounts: learners* Extended Conceptual Base Theory (EBCT): -emerging from multistage model -a problem-solving process * Conceptual Metaphor Hypothesis (CMH): Proverbs are based on image schemas or built-inmetaphors which can be automatically accessed.
A peacock should frequently look at its legs.
Great Chain Metaphor Theory (1989):
one specific-level schema from the source domain
a generic-schema from the target domain.
One rotten apple spoils the whole barrel
Gibbs’ study (1997) learners*Subjects: 24 undergraduates*Material & Procedure: -participants were presented a questionnaire asking them to write down mental images (16 proverbs from Penguin Dictionary of Proverbs) -participants answer two yes-no questions two open-ended questions
Does the stone roll out of its own will or because somebody else made it do so?
Once the stone starts rolling, is it easy to stop it?
* learnersRationalIntentionality, Stopability, Causation, manner -- central characteristics of one’s knowledge of objects and events in the real world*Results Mental images were consistent and detailedA rolling stone gathers no moss:One round or smooth stone, rolling down a grassy hillside and bouncing around on a bumpy road down the slope.
Current Study learnersMethod:*Subjects. 30 Polish students of English (3rd year students at Adam Mickiewicz University.)*Material & Procedure.A list of 10 proverbs( taking from Gibbs et al.’s 19970 mental imagery task.)
Subjects were presented with learnersa questionnaire starting with a proverb-definition-matching task
Describe their mental image for each proverb
Answer four probe questions about causation, intentionality, manner, and stopability of the actions depicted in each proverb (two yes-no questions, and two open-ended questions)
Time is learnersmoney