Teaching Idiomatic Expressions and Phrases: Insights and Techniques

Document Type : Original Article


Seattle Pacific University, US


Currently, a relatively large number of spoken and written conventionalized expressions have been collected, catalogued, and systematized. In language pedagogy, a clear implication is that teaching grammar and vocabulary is likely to be more complicated than working with syntactic rules and single-word items. Old and new insights associated with the sheer ubiquity of idiomatic constructions can present both challenges and opportunities, but it seems vital for teachers to be aware of and become familiar with these language units. This paper takes a look at a few historical perspectives and classifications of idiomatic phrases and expressions in English, as well as their uses in conversations, speaking, writing, and teaching. To extend this discussion, a few teaching activities and ideas can be further designed for learning and using idiomatic phrases in the classroom and beyond it. Because practically all idiomatic and conventionalized phrases are language and culture-specific, their instructional applications can contribute to learners’ strategic fluency development. In general terms, teaching idiomatic language components can lead to improvements in learners’ receptive and productive skills in various contexts.