A big question underlying idiomatic processing is to what extent the literal word meanings of the embedded words are activated. Current models on idiomatic processing propose that the literal meaning and the figurative meaning are activated in parallel, but the evidence on literal word meaning activation is mixed, especially in the case of L2 processing. One way to measure word form activation during L2 idiomatic processing is by focussing on effects of cross-language similarity. A so far unanswered question is to what extent cognates embedded in idioms show cognate facilitation effects. Do you activate the cognate 'book' when you read the phrase 'don't judge a book by its cover' or not? This study aims to investigate the processing of Dutch-English cognates embedded in English idioms by L2 Dutch learners of English in a sentence reading task.
As part of the project, a database containing 481 English idioms and Dutch translations has been compiled. This database can be assessed on request. Please contact Sybrine Bultena (contact details below) for more information.