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  • Wednesday, June 27, 2007
  • The Difficulties Which Undergraduate English Language Students Encounter in Their Interpretation of English Formulaic Expression to Arabic
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  • Abstract

    This paper investigates the difficulties that undergraduate and graduate students of English Language encounter in their understanding and interpretation of English formulaic expressions to Arabic. Since the majority of formulaic expressions in English or any language potentially contain more than one interpretation, it has been assumed that these expressions constitute a major problem for non-native speakers of English Language particularly for those who do not have adequate pragmatic competence in the target culture. The difficulties that non¬native speakers experience in their interpretation ,of formulaic expression seems to confirm Dell Hyme's (1971, 1974)  notion of the importance of acquiring 'communicative competence', in the target culture. Such competence enables the non-native speakers  to learn the rules of language use in a variety of social context.

    The interpretation task which is being used in this study consists of three English formulaic expressions randomly selected to measure both under and graduate students' pragmatic competence in interpreting these formulaic expressions.

    The results of this study are based on the written interpretation and solicitation of responses from 83 undergraduates of English Language and 13 graduate students of Applied Linguistics and Translation.


    The disparity in their performance on the interpretation task which was administered to both groups unequivocally ascertain the belief that adequate and continued exposure to the target culture is highly essential for the acquisition of literacy and the avoidance of misinterpretation of these expressions. Graduate students have done overwhelming well' in ' comparison with undergraduate whose performance on the same task' was mediocre. The performance of graduate students is obviously due' to their continued training in translating materials from and into the target culture 


    This study emphasizes the importance of providing students of English Language adequate training and courses in pragmatics and translation so that they could acquire some adequate, pragmatic competence in the target language. And based ,on the nature and type of their written responses it is self-evident that inadequate exposure to the target culture is the main cause for undergraduate’s mediocre performance on the interpretation

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Ayman Rafeeq Husein Nazzal
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