A Proverb Learned is a Proverb Earned: Proverb Instruction in EFL Classrooms

Nilüfer Can Daşkın, Çiler Hatipoğlu


This study aims to reveal the situation about proverb instruction in EFL classrooms by seeking future English teachers’ opinions. It is based on the argument that proverbs are an important part of cultural references, figurative, functional and formulaic language; thereby, they lend themselves well to enhancing communicative competence. This study investigates what EFL student-teachers think and feel about English proverb instruction, how they conceptualize proverbs, how they define their knowledge and use of English proverbs, and what they think about the extent to which their English teachers and coursebooks at high school taught English proverbs. In doing so, a questionnaire was designed and administered to freshman EFL student-teachers and semi-structured interviews were conducted with volunteers. The findings revealed that despite those student-teachers’ positive attitudes towards proverb instruction, they did not view their knowledge of English proverbs as well as the teaching of proverbs by their English teachers and coursebooks at high school sufficient enough. Furthermore, traditional definitions were reflected in the participants’ conceptualization of proverbs. The study has important implications for curriculum and syllabus design in which knowledge of phraseology in general and proverbs in particular should be incorporated as an important component of learners’ language competence.


Proverb instruction, phraseology, communicative competence, EFL student-teachers

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Eurasian Journal of Applied Linguistics

ISSN 2149­-1135
Copyright © Eurasian Journal of Applied Linguistics

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