The Avoidance of Phrasal Verbs by English Department Students in Iraq

Abstract

ABSTRACT Avoidance behaviour represents a communicative strategy of a learner of a second / foreign language by which the learner prefers using a simpler form instead of the target linguistic element for the reason of difficulty on the part of the target feature (Gluth, 2003). The theoretical sections of the paper in hand try to offer an exhaustive illustration on the phenomenon of avoidance in the language learning literature, in general, and the avoidance of phrasal verbs in particular .Consequently, it is a must to devote some of the theoretical sections to shed light on the syntax and semantics of the structure being avoided viz. phrasal verbs. The practical part of the present research investigates the avoidance of English phrasal verbs as a category by advanced Iraqi learners of English as a foreign language.The work also addresses the range of influence of phrasal verb types ( figurative vs. literal ) on the learners' avoidance behaviour. A multiple choice test is designed as a tool for collecting data in order to either validate or invalidate the hypotheses of this study. The analysis of the results shows that learners are inclined not to use phrasal verbs and tend to utilize their one-word equivalents. The study also reveals that avoidance is more manifested in advanced Iraqi learners' use of figurative rather than literal phrasal verbs.