Salience effect on the processing of idioms in L1: Evidence from Malay simpulan Bahasa

  • Radina Mohamad Deli Faculty of Language and Communication, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak


Experimental investigations into figurative language processing have received little attention for languages other than English and several major European languages. Research on the Malay language, in particular, has been very limited. This study thus aimed to investigate the figurative language processing of familiar Malay idioms by L1 native speakers. Familiarity or salience is hypothesised as having a dominating effect in the processing of idiom meaning. This means, regardless of context or other possible factors, salience is said to determine processing advantage. A total of 24 participants completed a timed lexical-decision task after listening to idiomatic stimuli. Eight highly familiar idioms embedded in neutral sentences were used as auditory stimuli, and were paired visually together with either their figurative or literal meaning as target words. Results revealed a similar processing speed for responses to both literal and idiomatic meanings. Hence, it was concluded that the salience levels of both meanings are balanced in line with the Graded Salience Hypothesis.


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How to Cite
Mohamad Deli, R. (2015). Salience effect on the processing of idioms in L1: Evidence from Malay simpulan Bahasa. Issues in Language Studies, 4(2).