Wrapping your Head around Idioms: It’s not Rocket Science!

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Idiomatic language is often one aspect of English that is taken into consideration when evaluating a speaker’s English competence. In order to acquire a native-like proficiency in English, non-native speakers should be able to comprehend and use idioms. Although there has been research conducted on the role of idiomatic expressions in non-natives perceived English language proficiency by native speakers, there is still research needed in order to investigate how non-native speakers perceive other non-native speakers’ competence and comprehensibility of discourse when idioms are used. Therefore, the present study investigates if there is a possible effect of idiomaticity on non-natives speaker’s perception. An online questionnaire consisting of a total of 16 different emails were read by 85 Dutch speakers and evaluated regarding comprehensibility of the text and perceived competence of the speaker with respect to idiomaticity and nativeness, Although the obtained results were not significant, it can be suggested that advanced non-native speakers of English are familiar with idiomatic language. Further research is necessary in order to find a significant effect.
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