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Comparing Apples and Chickens: How Topic and Noun Frequency Affect Idiom Transparency

Jensma, Thomas (2023) Comparing Apples and Chickens: How Topic and Noun Frequency Affect Idiom Transparency. Bachelor's Thesis, Artificial Intelligence.


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Idiom transparency, or the ease with which their figurative meaning can be derived from their literal meaning, is an important aspect of idioms. Researching what affects idiom transparency could improve linguistic models and teaching programs for second-language learners. Recent research shows that topic is an interesting, relatively unexplored characteristic of idioms. In addition, the effect of frequency of encountering specific parts of an idiom is quite unexplored. In an attempt to shed more light on these characteristics, this research investigated the effects of idiom topic and noun frequency on transparency. Four different idiom topics (shipping, food, animals, and body-parts) were selected, and a set of stimuli was created, consisting of 60 Dutch idioms, fifteen idioms per topic. The noun frequencies of these idioms were acquired from a lexical database. Transparency ratings for these idioms were collected via a questionnaire, aimed at (ex-)students in the range of 18-30 years old. The collected data was analyzed using linear mixed-effects models. Analysis revealed that noun frequency and topic did not significantly affect transparency. However, a second analysis showed that there does appear to be some effect of topic on transparency. Further research is needed to validate this finding. The results of this study only generalize to single noun idioms, as a result of the idiom selection process.

Item Type: Thesis (Bachelor's Thesis)
Supervisor name: Rij-Tange, J.C. van and Mehlhorn, S.K.
Degree programme: Artificial Intelligence
Thesis type: Bachelor's Thesis
Language: English
Date Deposited: 28 Mar 2023 14:01
Last Modified: 28 Mar 2023 14:01

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