Use of Idioms in ELL classes - Assignment Example

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Translating an idiomatic expression word for word results in confusion. While they are widely used in mass media, textbooks and music their unique semantic function difficult for…
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Use of Idioms in ELL classes
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An idiom is a word or expression whose meaning cannot be understood solely from the words used. Translating an idiomatic expression word for word results in confusion. While they are widely used in mass media, textbooks and music their unique semantic function difficult for second-language learners.
Example of a couple idioms:
ciencia cierta
A literal translation yields "to science correct" which has no meaning at all.
The correct translation is "with complete certainty"
a fondo
A literal translation would yield "to depth" which has no meaning at all.
The correct translation is "thoroughly"
When teaching idiomatic expressions it’s important to incorporate methods that transcend traditional grammar instruction for instructional methods that emphasize functional competence and incorporate elements of contextual and visual meaning.
Idioms can be introduced by using stories and having the students look for contextual clues. Stories are useful for teaching and entertaining students and they draw students’ attention and are readily absorbed. Contextual information is significantly effective and necessary for aiding students’ understanding of idioms.
Another effective means of communicating meaning is through the use of illustrations. Although there is lingering debate regarding the affect of visuals on reading comprehension, many researchers claim that reading materials accompanied by visuals are more comprehensible to students as they more diversely target intelligences and offer a more abstract unit of meaning. Key vocabulary is illustrated by showing pictures and diagrams, which improves the ESL students’ reading comprehension.
The use of illustrations shows that when words and pictures are presented together, students recall them better than when they are presented alone. Providing interesting pictures fosters and reinforces vocabulary development. The use of visuals with bright colors, rather than black and white copies, aids the student in recalling the picture.
Create a game out of the idioms. This helps the students by giving them experience with the idiomatic expressions in a practical situation and motivates them to learn because the exercise is a game. One example involves placing the idioms on cards that the students can choose. The students then work collaboratively to act out the literal translation. Other groups of students then try and match the idiom that is being acted out to a list of idioms they have been supplied. Read More
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