Class Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Department or Program


Second Department or Program

Modern Languages and Literatures

First Advisor

Vivian Ta

Second Advisor

Valerie B. Makkai

Third Advisor

Kathryn Rindskopf Dohrmann

Fourth Advisor

Cynthia T. Hahn

Fifth Advisor

Carla Arnell


This study investigated whether knowledge of one Romance language facilitates the processing of idioms that have been literally translated into English from another Romance language. There were eleven participants, of whom three were English monolinguals, one was a bilingual speaker of Spanish and English, two were bilingual speakers of English and a Slavic language, and five were English speakers who had studied Spanish. Participants read a list of forty idioms, of which ten were familiar English idioms, ten were less familiar English idioms, ten were literal translations into English of French idioms with a semantic counterpart in English, and ten were literal translations of French idioms with no English counterpart. They then defined each idiom. It was hypothesized that participants with knowledge of Spanish would be better able to guess the meaning of the French idioms than the other participants. Results did not support this hypothesis; however, several promising areas for future study were identified and discussed.