Orazova Hallybagt Rakhmanovna1, Hojageldiyeva Ogulsoltan2
1Magtymguly Turkmen State University, Instructor in the Department of English phonetics and lexicology
2Magtymguly Turkmen State University, Student of English language and literature faculty

The article explores the importance of teaching idioms in the context of developing effective English language skills and intercultural communication. By understanding idioms, learners gain insights into different cultural perspectives and communication styles. Overall, the article emphasizes the significance of teaching idioms in facilitating effective English language learning and fostering intercultural communication competence.

Keywords: English language learning, idioms, intercultural communication, vocabulary expansion

Category: 13.00.00 Pedagogics

Article reference:
Orazova H.R., Hojageldiyeva O. Developing idiomatic competence in teaching English // Modern scientific researches and innovations. 2024. № 2 [Electronic journal]. URL:

View this article in Russian

The lexical diversity of idioms allows them to be used in many tasks to develop speaking skills, to expand vocabulary, develop creativity, translation skills and the ability to work with a dictionary. Modern methods of teaching foreign languages dictate the use of approaches that form not only linguistic professional competence, but also expand the general horizons and cultural level of students. In the process of studying English idioms, students use the multifaceted range of their competencies, comparing idioms with Turkmen ones, delving into the history, customs and traditions of the country of the language they are studying. At the same time, students are enriched with universal moral values and form their views on the world around them with all its diversity.

In the linguistic tradition, idioms are usually called phraseological units or phraseological units. In modern linguistics, the term “idiom” has become widespread, which comes from the Greek “idίōma”, which means “peculiarity, originality”. An idiom is a group of words in a fixed order that has a particular meaning that is different from the meanings of each word on its own. This laconic but succinct definition is given by the Cambridge Dictionary[1].

Developing idiomatic competency and fostering intercultural communication are essential aspects of teaching English effectively. Culture is a dynamic and ever-evolving concept, and the way different communities perceive the world shapes their languages and communication styles. While there are universal aspects of human thought and cognition, each language reflects the unique worldview of its speakers. Consequently, every language possesses a distinct “linguistic worldview” that influences the way speakers express themselves in specific situations. This, in turn, is governed by the language’s specific rules of vocabulary, grammar, and established usage.

Therefore, idiomaticity is an inherent characteristic of all languages and reflects unique cultural aspects. The diverse worldviews shaped by different cultural and historical backgrounds significantly impact the nature of intercultural communication and, consequently, the effectiveness of foreign language acquisition.

As mentioned earlier, language, communication, and culture are interconnected concepts. It is difficult to imagine communication outside of a cultural context. Since communication between representatives of different languages is always intercultural, the process of direct interaction between cultures, or intercultural communication, inevitably “takes place within the framework of non-coinciding national stereotypes of thinking and behavior, which significantly affects mutual understanding of the parties in communication” [2, p. 280]. Thus, the effectiveness of communication depends on the extent to which the images of the world constructed in the minds of the communicants are correlated/adequate and the ways of their verbal description[3, p. 194]. In other words, the main difficulties on the path to effective intercultural communication arise from the national-specific characteristics of the interacting cultures, and the mismatch of worldviews, or conceptual systems, of the communicants generates language anomalies, which represent the use of language that is atypical for its speakers, i.e. non-idiomatic speech.

To achieve meaningful contact and mutual understanding in intercultural communication, it is necessary for the potential participant to study the realities and characteristics of the life of the foreign socio-cultural community at the early stages of intercultural communication training.

Teaching communication in the framework of intercultural communication involves not only the formation of the ability to adequately encode and decode information in a foreign language, but also the mastery of the means of socio-cultural communication, the “conventional orientation” of conceptual systems.

Without taking this fact into account, it is impossible to assimilate the cultural values of the country of the studied language, to successfully master foreign language speech and speech behavior. Intercultural communication, a dialogue of cultures, begins in the mind of a person who masters a foreign culture, comparing it with his own.

Therefore, reflecting on intercultural communication, we are talking about the task of forming a secondary language personality when teaching a foreign language:

“The system of language means of expression of a foreign society should be embedded in the intellectual potential of the English-speaking language personality (as a “secondary” verbal-semantic layer)” [3, p. 201].

Since idiomatic expressions can be considered as certain national-specific and culturally determined units in the consciousness of a language personality, bearing the imprint of a foreign socio-cultural picture of the world, teaching them contributes to the formation of a secondary language personality, without which successful intercultural communication is impossible.

Here are some key points to consider when teaching idioms for intercultural communication:

  • Start early: Introduce idioms early in the language learning process to help students build a strong foundation in cultural understanding.
  • Provide context: Explain the meaning and cultural significance of idioms within the context of real-world situations.
  • Encourage practice: Provide opportunities for students to practice using idioms in a variety of contexts, such as role-playing, conversations, and writing exercises.
  • Use authentic materials: Incorporate authentic materials, such as films, music, and literature, to expose students to idioms in their natural context.
  • Promote learner autonomy: Encourage students to take ownership of their learning by researching idioms on their own and using them in creative ways.

By following these guidelines, teachers can help students develop the idiomatic competence they need to communicate effectively in intercultural settings.

In conclusion, teaching idioms in a foreign language is a crucial issue in the methodology of teaching foreign languages in the context of intercultural communication training.

By incorporating effective idiom teaching strategies into their curriculum, teachers can help students develop the idiomatic competence they need to succeed in intercultural communication.

  1. Online Cambridge dictionary.
  2. Benjamin, L.; Ebbels, S.; Newton, C. Investigating the effectiveness of idiom intervention for 9-16 year olds with developmental language disorder. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders. 2020, 55 (2): 266–286.
  3. Osborne, T.; Groß, T. Constructions are catenae: Construction Grammar meets Dependency Grammar. Cognitive Linguistics. 2012. 23 (1): 163–214.

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