Effects of Contextualization, Decontextualization and Picture Cues on Learning Transparent and Opaque Idioms by Iranian Intermediate EFL Learners

Mehdi Vaez Dalili, Shadi Morsagh, Milad Shirzadi


This study aimed at assessing the effects of contextualization, decontextualization and picture cues on learning transparent and opaque idioms by Iranian intermediate EFL learners. In order to carry out the study, 90 Iranian students at the intermediate level were divided into 3 groups of contextualized, decontextualized and picture-cued learning after the administration of the Oxford Quick Placement Test (QPT). The first group was exposed to forty idioms through short texts that contained 20 transparent and 20 opaque idioms. The second group just received the same number and type of idioms in isolation (i.e., decontextualized idioms), and the third group received the same number and type of idioms accompanied by pictures. Three paired samples t-tests were used to compare the performance of each group on 20 transparent and 20 opaque idioms. Two one-way ANOVAs were also run to compare the posttest scores of the three groups on transparent and opaque idioms. Results revealed that the learning of transparent idioms was much better than opaque idioms in all three groups. Moreover, in learning transparent and opaque idioms, using pictures was the most effective method, then the contextualized learning of idioms proved to be more effective, and finally the decontextualized learning of idioms was the least effective method for learning idioms in comparison with the other two methods of learning idioms.


transparent idiom, opaque idiom, contextualized idiom, decontextualized idiom, picture-cued idiom

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