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Cross-cultural differences on language learners

In this article the authors tried to measure the impact of cross-cultural differences on language learners’ interpretation of imageable idioms. The definition of imageable idioms: ‘idioms that have associated conventional images’ (Lakoff 1987:447). The study reported in this article investigated whether these imageable idioms call up the same scene in the language learner’s mind as in the native speaker’s mind. Guessing the meaning of the figurative expressions such as Pass the hat around or Hang on someone’s sleeve appears not to be beyond the capacities of many language learners, even at lower-intermediate levels of proficiency. The authors hypothesize that idioms relating to a metaphoric theme (conceptual metaphors or source domains) that is more salient in the target culture will tend to be less easily ‘guessable’ to language learners that those relating to a metaphoric theme that is more or equally salient in the L1 culture.