This quantitative study used eye-tracking technology to compare the attentional focus of 32 native English speakers and 26 native Korean speakers at the university level as they read idiomatic and literal phrases within well-formed sentences. Results revealed that native Korean speakers read both literal and idiomatic sentences slower than native English speakers. Additionally, native Korean speakers read idiomatic sentences slower than literal sentences, whereas native English speakers did not show a significant difference. Variables relating to language socialization, language development and idiom knowledge were also investigated to find which variables were correlated with reading measures. Of the variables tested, idiom knowledge was the only one that had significant effect on reading measures. These findings suggest that Korean speakers take longer to process English idioms as lexical units, though idiom familiarity seems to mitigate this effect.
College and Department
Humanities; Linguistics and English Language
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Miner, Sarah Lynne, "Reading Idioms: A Comparative Eye-Tracking Study of Native English Speakers and Native Korean Speakers" (2018). Theses and Dissertations. 7334.
eye-tracking, L2 reading, L2 vocabulary, idioms, cognitive processing