The relevance of using phraseological units and the best teaching ways of it | Статья в журнале «Молодой ученый»

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Рубрика: Педагогика

Опубликовано в Молодой учёный №21 (259) май 2019 г.

Дата публикации: 26.05.2019

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Библиографическое описание:

Ермекбаева А. Ш., Токназар П. П. The relevance of using phraseological units and the best teaching ways of it // Молодой ученый. — 2019. — №21. — С. 495-498. — URL (дата обращения: 20.07.2019).

Teaching phraseology is a part of cultural approach in foreign teaching methodology and arranging vocabulary studying though structure of component meaning is linguistic approach. The major purpose of this research was to investigate the ways of teaching phraseological units.

Key words: phraseological units, idioms, linguistics, component meaning, the context, motivation, ordinary conversation.

The study of any foreign language is impossible without referring to phraseology, which represents one of the most difficult for learning language levels. Idioms — units of speech communication, therefore their study should be carried out with the help of communicative exercises, the content of which is the students' performance of speech acts in terms of real communication or similar to them.

It is now commonly accepted that the people who want to master the English language must have knowledge about wide range of complex lexical in English as a foreign language learner. Obviously, in order to command a foreign language deeply, a learner should learn pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary. But the main of them is phraseological units. The English language is full of phraseological units. Obviously, idioms, phrases, phrasal verbs and set expressions, aphorisms, maxims, proverbs and sayings are the main units of any language, without them our language may seem shallow or boring. The ability to use phrasal expressions is a great sign of language. A well-educated person who is a treasurer of phraseology is transforming his mind into a rational, understandable, compact manner. That is why every culture, literate person, a student who wants to be fluent in the language, should use regular expressions in the tongue [1, p. 24]

English is a language particularly rich in phraseological units. Without them the English language would lose much of its variety and humor both in speech and writing. Phraseological units increase our vocabulary, enrich the language and make it more interesting and vibrant. The importance of phraseological knowledge in L2 competence is beyond dispute. It enables learners to speak more fluently, makes their speech more understandable and helps them write or sound more native-like.

It is probably fair to say that phraseology as an individual part of linguistics should be carefully and profoundly studied by language learners as phrases, set expressions, idioms as well as fixed sayings are widely used in both written and oral speech in any language, particularly in English. In one word, I believe that the EFL learner must study the phraseology — phraseological units, their origin, characteristics and usage, cultural specifics, etc. — in order to speak fluently and accurately as well as understand thoroughly as a native speaker for it helps the EFL students to make a complex speech and feel confident.

Phraseology is a kind of picture gallery in which are collected vivid and amusing sketches of the nation’s customs, traditions, and prejudices, recollections of its past history, scraps of folk songs and fairy-tales.

Every language has phrases or sentences that cannot be understood literally. Even if we know the meaning of all the words in a phrase and understand the grammar completely, the meaning of the phrase may be still confusing. A phrase or sentence of this type is usually said to be idiomatic. And many idioms originated as quotations from well-known writers such as Shakespeare. For example, «at one fell swoop» comes from Macbeth and «cold comfort» from King John. Sometimes such idioms today have a meaning that has been altered from the original quotation [2, 13–19pp.]

Teaching phraseology is a part of cultural approach in foreign teaching methodology and arranging vocabulary studying though structure of component meaning is linguistic approach. As the famous Kazakh writer Abay said: «For your students to study well, your students need to have a great deal of enthusiasm and interest in reading». So, we should use the best tactics to teach them as interesting as they can learn easily. The major purpose of this research was to investigate the ways of teaching phraseological units.

Teaching methods, part of the five important components of language instruction (students, a teacher, materials, teaching materials, and evaluation), is a general term to refer to ‘anything which is used by teachers or learners to facilitate the learning of a language’. Teaching methods are of great importance for their guidance in any instructional circumstance [3, 15–22 pp.]

As teaching materials are of many types including paper-based (textbooks), electronic (corpus, computer software), and audio-visual (video, television programs, audio tapes, visual aids), our focus will be on the paper-based instructional materials, i.e., textbooks. Teacher should choose the best one of teaching methods and teaching materials.

It’s important not only to teach the meaning of phraseological units, but also to teach how to use them correctly and effectively. When a non-native speaker uses an idiom correctly, he or she will sound very fluent. But, on the other hand, if they bumble the phrase, they will sound the exact opposite.

Given the limited number of hours devoted to foreign language teaching in schools, it would be utopian to expect grammar and phraseology to somehow take care of themselves.

The best teaching ways of phraseological units.

Teach idioms in spoken form, not written, and explain to students how they are conversational, rather than formal. Have students practice the phraseological units in dialogue to help them understand they’re used in spoken colloquial English.

Don’t just hand out a long list of phraseological units. Be sure to provide a small selection of 5–10 phraseological units (or less!) and explain each one. By using idioms, set expressions, the learners’ speaking skills are increased. The original contribution of our study is developing the approach to improve speaking skills through phraseological units as well as increasing motivation of students..

Nowadays, the teaching of vocabulary has become essential in L2 teaching and learning, particularly in the latest years.

1. Use a theme

A great way to teach phraseological units is to use a theme. Most idioms in English fall into a thematic group. For example, you could use all weather-related idioms or teach sports-related, animal idioms, food idioms. By using a common theme to teach idioms, it’s easier for students to grasp the meanings of the phrases, and see how similar words can mean very different things.

2. Teach phraseological units with pictures

Provide a picture to explain the context. This works best if you show an image that humorously illustrates the literal meaning of the phraseological units. It will make students laugh, but also help them understand or guess what a phrase means. Idioms are full of colorful imagery, perfect for a flashcard or photo. Show the picture to your students and have them guess the meaning of the phraseological units.


When pigs fly

Meaning:Something that will never happen.

Ex: I asked my boss if I could go on a two month vacation, he said yes, when pigs fly!

3. Use small groups to present dialogues

Dialogue Writing and Role-play in Reading

Dialogues can provide situations for students to practice ordinary conversation and offer students ample practice with basic speaking skills in context. Firstly, dialogues can be viewed as short plays and used for students to act out rather than simply read aloud. Moreover, the dialogues the students write function as basic communication at all levels. In addition, putting pupils into pairs for the role-play in the daily dialogues is an effective way of oral practice for various ages and levels. [4, p.13] Moreover, students learn better when they are provided with collaborative activities because they can interact with peers and share fun in learning. You can use the following idioms to torture by using this way.


teach english idioms

Meaning: a person who is happy and cheerful

Teaching tips: Explain the idiom and practice the sample dialogue. Ask your students what makes them happy. Also, practice using the idiom in the negative. Such as, “I’m not a happy camper today.”

Sample dialogue:

Sam: Sarah, why are you so happy today?

Sarah: Well, I made a perfect score on my English test. I also won first prize in an English writing contest and received a $100 prize. So yes, I’m a happy camper today.

4. Guessing Game

Write three or four idioms on the board that all touch on one theme (e.g. animals, body parts). Have students work in groups to see if they can guess the meaning of the phraseological units. Walk around your classroom and check their answers awarding points for any correct definition. Then share the meanings of the phraseological units with your class and give them an example in context. Move on to another group of idioms around a second theme. Repeat the activity. The first team to reach ten points wins the game.

The benefits of reading foreign literature to learn idioms.

Also, in our opinion, the next one of the most effective methods of phraseology teaching at universities, at schools can rightly be considered the use of foreign literature. From our point of view, not enough attention is given to the issue of the use of foreign literature in the process of phraseology teaching. The effectiveness of the authentic literary text use that can serve as a support in the training of phraseological units is not fully described and verified. Phraseological phrases are used extensively in artistic work due to their artistic nature. The study of phraseology evokes an emotional response, greatly enhances the interest and increases motivation to language activity and to the subject in general (by this is dictated the process of phraseological units mastering). Reading foreign literature enriches students’ vocabulary, expands knowledge of phraseological units and set expressions. The use of foreign literature would increase the efficiency of work, make lessons unusual and memorable. In other words, the use of foreign fiction within the framework of home reading can become one of such methods [5, 26- 33 pp.]

Phraseology is a key factor in improving learners’ reading and listening comprehension, alongside fluency and accuracy in production.

Speaking activities, discussion or pair-work are challenging and hugely motivating, and a focus on phraseology makes the language natural and authentic. Teaching a phrase effectively and in a fascinating way will not only help you to understand the language, but will also help you to master it consciously.

Finally, the above-mentioned activities help to overcome some linguistic challenges caused by studying idiomatic expressions, proverbs and sayings, and give a perfect example of how culture infuses a language.

And the main thing to make conclusion that saying about the advantages of teaching methods which have found during my research. The advisable ways of teaching can….

− help to learn as easy as quickly

− increase learners’ interests in learning a language

− develop the thinking ability

− build a great speech style

I guess if teachers use the methods which I have recommended, they will succeed, also learners get the best result.

Well, all my aims have been achieved and I hope my work will be a good stream for teachers and students in their teaching work with idioms.


  1. Alhaysony, M. H. Strategies and difficulties of understanding English idioms: A case study of Saudi University EFL students. International Journal of English Linguistics. № 1, 2017.
  2. Chen Y. C. & Lai H. L. Teaching English idioms as metaphors through cognitive oriented methods: A case in an EFL writing class. English Language Teaching, № 2, 2013.
  3. Cooper T. Teaching idioms. Foreign Language Annals, 1998.
  4., p.13
  5. Lundblom E. G. & Woods J. Working in the Classroom: Improving Idiom Comprehension through Classwide Peer Tutoring, Communication Disorders Quarterly, 2012.

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