Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

Degree Granting Department

World Languages

Major Professor

John I. Liontas, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Liliana Rodríguez-Campos, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sanghoon Park, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Michael Sherry, Ph.D.


Idiom Diffusion Model (IDM), Instructional Material Motivation (IMMS), Arabic Idioms, Authentic Materials


Native Arabic speakers used idiomatic expressions such as idioms, formulas, and collocations, in their daily communications. In learning Arabic as a second language (L2), effective communication requires “the ability to understand and use idioms appropriately and accurately in a variety of sociocultural contexts, in a manner like that of native speakers, and with the least amount of mental effort” (Liontas, 2015, p. 441). Yet, promoting L2 idiomatic competence in the classroom and beyond remains a difficult task (Liontas, 2006; Tabatabaei, 2012). The utilization of e-books in the learning environment in L2 teaching in the English language has received much research attention. However, few studies, if any, have explored the impact of using an interactive e-book to learn Arabic idiomatic expressions. The purpose of this dissertation was three-fold: (1) to examine the effects of using an interactive e-book on promoting idiomatic competence, (2) to determine if an interactive e-book increases learners’ motivational levels in terms of attention, relevance, confidence, and satisfaction, and (3) to explore learners’ perspectives regarding the utilization of an interactive e-book to learn idiomatic expressions. More specifically, among a variety of idiomatic expressions, I only focused on Liontas’ (1999) vivid phrasal (VP) idioms, such as أصاب كبد الحقيقة (literally, to hit the liver of the truth; figuratively, to identify the core of the issue) that evokes a powerful mental image. A total of 84 adult learners of the Arabic language in Saudi Arabia participated in a mixed-methods study. Two advanced language classes were assigned the task of learning VP idioms through an interactive e-book (experimental group) and traditional paper-based learning (control group). Ten target VP idioms were selected based on the reviewed literature and the Arabic idiomatic dictionary. At the beginning of the study, all participants completed a demographic information survey, and a pre-test of idiomatic competence. Following the completion of the learning, all participants completed an immediate post-test motivational survey. The findings of the pre-test did not show a statistically significant difference, highlighting that learners’ prior idiomatic knowledge had no impact. Due to the violation of the normality assumption of the data set, a non-parametric analysis Mann–Whitney U test was employed. The findings of the post-test showed that there was statistical significance in favor of the experimental group, with a small effect size. In terms of motivation, there was no statistical significance between the groups in all motivational aspects, including attention, relevance, confidence, and satisfaction. Thematic analysis of the participants’ interviews showed several issues based on their learning experience, including how the e-book enhanced their learning of idiomatic expressions, learner strategies, difficulties in using the e-book, the impact of authentic materials, and recommendations to improve e-book learning environments. The findings of the qualitative data indicated that an interactive e-book has a positive effect on learners’ idiomatic competence and motivation.