Explicit vs. Contrastive-based Instruction of Formulaic Expressions in Developing EFL Learners’ Reading Ability

Document Type: Research Paper


1 Imam Ali University & IAU

2 Ministry of Education


 As an integrative component of textual structure, formulaic expressions (FEs) play a key role in communicating the message and comprehending the text. Furthermore, interlingually contrastive features of FEs add to their both significance and complexity of their instruction. Given these facts, this study was an attempt to explore a sound mechanism on how to teach FEs; whether an explicit or CA-based approach to FEs instruction could entail various achievements among EFL learners’ reading ability. To this end, three groups of Iranian EFL learners, identified as homogeneous based on Nelson Proficiency Test, were classified into one control and two experimental (i.e. explicit and CA-based instruction) ones. They were exposed to conventional, explicit and CA-based instructions of a set of selected FEs developed into and presented in the form of an instructional handout. Their Knowledge of reading was also tested based on a researcher-made diagnostic test prior to the experiment. Both quantitative and qualitative paradigms were employed to measure both the achievements and the extent of contrast between Persian and English languages in terms of FEs. The former analysis revealed significance difference among the groups in terms of instruction type effectiveness; both explicit and CA-based instruction groups outperformed the control group; on the contrary, no statistically significant difference was revealed between the experimental groups. Additionally, the latter paradigm revealed differences and mismatches between Persian and English FEs in terms of semantic, syntactic and pragmatic parameters. The findings could be insightful for EFL instructors, learners, textbook writers, and syllabus designers to take into account issues like these in their pedagogical programs.


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