Why learning idioms is useful to speak with more ease and comfort

Are you currently using English professionally? Are you a non-native speaker of English and would you like to speak more accurately? Did you know that Linguistic research has shown that it is easier to process and remember chunks of language rather than individual lexical units, or words if you will? An example of such a chunk is an idiom. Oxford Dictionary defines idioms as: ‘a group of words established by usage as having a meaning not deducible from those of the individual words (e.g. over the moon, see the light)’; in other words, the meaning of such a chunk of words is figurative rather than literal. Are you currently using idioms in your speech at all? In this article, I explain why it would be useful to start acquiring and using idioms in a professional domain.

Using them more would be advantages because through using them, you will be able to acquire them, which is the ultimate aim of language learning and when you can acquire them, it allows you to retrieve them from memory while speaking in such a domain, for example. Being able to do that, in turn, reduces your cognitive load and allows you to focus on job-related aspects that matter most. The upside of learning – and better yet acquiring – such idioms is to sound more native-like (i.e. in terms of what you say), to improve the fluency of speech, and to reduce processing time cognitively, which leads to more time being left to carry out occupational tasks. Such advantages have been identified in Psycholinguistics and by researchers such as Helmer Strik (Radboud University Nijmegen) and others.

According to Cucchiarini, Hubers & Strik, researchers employed by Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands, acquiring idioms is difficult for adults and little is known about how to acquire them. They have been specializing in the field of Computer Assisted Language Learning for quite a long time. They state that until more is known about how to study idioms effectively using CALL-systems and until such CALL-systems are commercially available in the context of formal instruction, contextualized learning seems to be the answer for this moment in time, which happens in language courses, like in Cambridge courses, which are focus on language acquisition rather than learning. Contextualized learning involves noticing that idioms are used in context and they can be spotted everywhere, like in ‘popular culture’ in which informal speech is used; a more specific example would be to find them in television series, like suits.

Being able to acquire them also involves learning what their meaning is by using dictionaries and good-quality course materials in instructor-led courses in which an instructor can monitor what participants need and can steer the process effectively. This type of learning is our current gold-standard in the field of second language learning and language & communication training and coaching services for adults.

So what is next? How can you start learning and acquiring idioms outside of formal training? Well, for this purpose, I offer playlists on Youtube that are freely accessible to the general public in which I demonstrate how to go about learning relevant idioms and how to contrast meaning in different dictionaries. Note that idioms can be used in a professional domain, too. Making sure that my clients become autonomous and to set them up for success is why I get out of bed in the morning. 

LSA LINGUA- everything you need to start communicating more effectively in English while working from any place of your choosing.

Please note that these playlists can be found on YouTube: LSA LINGUA

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