Aspects of Idiom Interpretation: Comment on Nayak and Gibbs


Nayak and Gibbs (1990) report that conceptual knowledge plays an important role in the use of idiomatic expressions. The following points are raised for further consideration. First, the generality of Nayak and Gibbs's results are called into question. Specifically, the range of stimulus materials used may have been too narrow for these results to be considered representative of most idiomatic expressions. This problem is demonstrated by showing that only a minority of idiomatic expressions possess clearly defined temporal aspects. Second, the need for a componential analysis of idiom interpretation is suggested and discussed. Third, Nayak and Gibbs's description of the traditional theory of idiom interpretation is questioned. Finally, attention is called to the interpretation of the data from Nayak and Gibbs's 6th experiment; it is suggested that the results may be due to lexical priming.

Publication Title

Journal of Experimental Psychology: General