A study of young Norwegians in English idiom processing
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A quantitative study was conducted with a group of twenty-six Nowegian upper secondary students and a group of twenty-six Norwegian university students. Both groups were tested for English proficiency and idiom comprehension. A third group of English native speakers was also given the idiom tests, to judge whether the tasks and idioms were appropriate. The idiom comprehension tests were divided into two part. In one they would respond to written alternatives, in the other they would respond to image alternatives. The upper secondary group was measured for their mouse-movements with MouseTracker software when performing the image idiom test. The study aimed to compare the two groups, and analyse the processing of idioms particularly for the upper secondary group. The results showed that the university students outperformed the upper secondary significantly in both the proficiency tests and the idiom tests. The university students also outperformed the English native speakers. The results of the mouse-movement tracking showed that the upper secondary students processed various idioms in different ways, and that they were often uncertain in the process of selecting a correct response. The reason why some idioms proved more problematic than others was discussed, but no definite reason was concluded.