Production of ambiguous idioms in English: A reading aloud study

Anna Siyanova-Chanturia, Ming Sum Lin

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


In a reading-aloud experiment, we investigated the on-line processing of English idioms from a production perspective. The stimuli were ambiguous idioms used figuratively and literally, and matched novel control phrases. The analysis of the articulatory durations showed a processing advantage for idioms over controls. Further, we found that figurative meanings were articulated somewhat faster than their literal counterparts. The results suggest that the processing advantage for idioms over control phrases, previously reported in comprehension studies, is also present during their production. Unlike the comprehension idiom literature, however, the two idiom meanings might be processed differently during reading aloud. The study concludes with directions for future research, and a case is made for why this line of research is important for the field of applied linguistics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-70
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Applied Linguistics (United Kingdom)
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018


  • ambiguous idioms
  • frequency
  • multi-word expressions
  • novel language
  • production

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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