How to Enhance Language Awareness of Beginners Using the American TV Comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine*

Article information

J Eng Teach Movie Media. 2022;23(2):1-13
Publication date (electronic) : 2022 May 31
doi :
1Corresponding author, Associate professor, Dept. of Global English, ACTS University, 1276 Gyeonggang-ro, Okcheon-myeon, Yangpyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do, 12508, Korea (E-mail:
*This work was supported by ACTS University in 2022.
Received 2022 April 14; Revised 2022 May 19; Accepted 2022 May 24.


The purpose of this paper is twofold: (1) to examine whether beginning level students improve language awareness through language play and (2) to investigate whether they can receptively find language play in movie discourse. For this, two beginning level college students joined in a case study. The media material was episode 1 from season 1 of the 2013 American comedy television series, Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Lord & Miller, 2013). In this study, three stages were administered. In the first stage, the participants chose whatever they preferred in the drama without any instruction. In the second stage, they were instructed briefly through discourse analysis. In the third stage, the teacher gave discourse analysis-oriented instruction in which the participants learned pragmatic and contextual meaning, and they matched those meanings with linguistic expressions. The results indicated that the participants showed only small improvements in awareness of linguistic items in the first stage. During the second stage, after they were instructed about language play, their discovery of linguistic items showed a small increase. Lastly, in the third stage, the results revealed learners became stronger in explaining sequences of linguistic items even though grammatical meanings were mentioned only once. Meaning in this case study turned out to be essential.

Keywords: college


Film is an attractive material for language learning but many beginner L2 learners are not quite sure about which expressions they must focus on. Beginners would like to learn the English language, such as language items, expressions, and if possible, grammar. Yet, they do not have a starting point. Usually, EFL teachers are reluctant to use films for beginners because they can be difficult materials to use. Film is not an educational text. It is for entertaining people. Thus, language items in a film are not arranged structurally but instead are used to accomplish characters’ intentions in their community.

Then what can be a starting point for beginners? As far as film use, it should provide fun in the first place. Fun is the reason that many beginner students take film-based language courses. However, the fun should primarily come from language learning, with enjoyment of the film’s storyline being secondary. EFL teachers often misjudge that fun should be given from the storyline. They should keep in mind that L2 learners are mainly concerned with language learning through film. Plus, the human brain works when fun is related to language learning (Alloway & Alloway, 2013). In other words, a meaningful way of using film should connect language learning with fun.

In this paper, language play and discourse analysis (DA) will be used for beginners to connect language learning with fun. Playing with language is a natural activity in human life, and it’s essential in developing a language (Cook, 2000; Crystal, 1998). Lantz-Andersson (2018) says that “language play integrates form, meaning, and function.” (p. 708). In this process, language users can find a characteristic of language. That is, language is represented, moving from abstraction to concreteness. Since the human body and mind cannot be separated and the body confines mind, abstraction from mind is obliged to accept such confinement and is represented through concreteness (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980). Language awareness emerges in this process. It seems that language awareness indicates only attention to language form but meaning should not be ignored to improve language awareness. Wang (2018) mentions “language awareness refers to the understanding of language forms and functions” (p. 54). Form and function (or meaning) pairing is a basic unit of language (Kok & Cienki, 2016). Meaning is considered essential in cognitive grammar.

DA provides language learners with pragmatic meaning (Al-Hindawi & Saffah, 2017; Jucker, 2017; Kok & Cienki, 2016). Since pragmatic context provides meaning to linguistic utterances, DA has a certain role while language play proceeds.

It is obvious that second language learning occurs in diverse discourse. Thus, second or foreign language learning should happen within the discourse (Boxer & Zhu, 2017). DA aims to study spoken or written language in relation to its social context (Luo, 2019). It is quite suitable to use film in the classroom: Reading the script of a film (language part) and talking about its social context (storyline part). Both language and content will be satisfied through DA.

Considering beginners lack knowledge of the English language, EFL teachers might wonder if DA could be implemented without difficulty. Since DA in a film is about interactions among characters, the storyline, beginners’ language knowledge does not matter at all. DA will function as a mediator between language forms and relevant meanings. According to some discourse analysts, discourse forms its context and consequently helps L2 learners understand how it affects the meaning of the sentence or utterance (Tannen, n.d.). They cannot translate a sentence grammatically, but they may understand the whole meaning of the sentence. Then they may become aware of language forms based on meaning. DA will help this procedure.

Lastly, a working definition of language awareness is introduced to beginning level L2 learners. Language awareness is an ability to find language plays language users attempt consciously or unconsciously in their communication. Since beginning level learners only focus on language items receptively, they can only find language items in written utterances. When they grow knowledge of a target language, they can manipulate language items through language awareness productively.


1. Language Play as Language Awareness

Communicative language teaching (CLT) has emphasized authentic language based upon meaning rather than a form. Cook’s (1997, 2000) critical argument has followed CLT.

First premise: Authentic/natural language is best.

Second premise: Authentic/natural language is primarily practical and purposeful, focused upon meaning rather than form. (Cook, 1997, p. 224)

Cook (1997) criticized the first premise in many ways, but due to lack of space, one point will be made here. He attacked the term ‘natural language.’ For example, when an adult talks to their baby, they are forced to regulate their speech for the child. Their grammar should be simplified, their speech speed should be reduced, and their selection of vocabulary should be controlled. What he argues is that these regulations are also natural features of a language or English. Another example is that English native teachers use features like those of adult-child talk. Those are natural features, too. This attack is against some people who blame the unnaturalness of language play.

Regarding the second premise, Cook (1997) criticized that faith in a focus on meaning is the canon of the CLT period. He asked back why focus on language form is unnatural and unauthentic? In fact, when a teacher and students have some tasks in EFL classroom, a so called ‘unnatural talk,’ ‘ungrammatical talk,’ or ‘not logical interaction’ might take place. Yet, because the purpose of classroom talk is teaching and learning English, their conversation is just natural with an inappropriate meaning. The following passage is a sample for language play in the classroom.

At the formal level, there is play with sounds (or with letter shapes, though this is less common) to create patterns of rhyme, rhythm, assonance, consonance, alliteration, etc. and play with grammatical structures to create parallelisms and patterns […]. At the semantic level there is play with units of meaning, combining them in ways which create worlds which do not exist: fictions. (Cook, 1997, p. 228)

It sounds difficult to follow, but language play is not complicated. Here’s an example. Suppose you hear I live in Seoul. You may not see language play in this sentence. Look at preposition in. The grammatical meaning of in is associated with a concept ‘Box’ (iTEP., n.d.). Everyone knows that Seoul is not a box. Language users apply the concept to location. This can be an example of language play.

Metaphor is another example of language play. The next examples are from Gibbs (2015).

We’re headed in opposite directions.

We’re spinning our wheels.

Our relationship is at a crossroads.

Our marriage was on the rocks. (p. 169)

The four expressions have one thing in common. That is, “love relationships are journeys” (p. 169). This is called a conceptual metaphor. The above utterances are all related to this conceptual metaphor. Why is love related to journey? The reason is that the human mind is intertwined with the body and that abstraction is better understood when it is changed into concreteness. In this sense, language is all idiomatic (Rafatbakhsh & Ahmadi, 2019), and it is appropriated for language play.

2. Discourse Analysis

In the 1970s, the concept of DA was introduced into academia.

Since the establishment of the field, discourse analysis has evolved to include a wide range of topics, from the public versus private use of language to official versus colloquial rhetoric, and from oratory to written and multimedia discourses. The field of study has further branched out to be paired with the fields of psychology, anthropology, and philosophy, thus meshing linguistics with sociology. (Nordquist, 2020)

Let’s look for a definition of discourse. According to Gee (2015), discourse has two characteristics. The first one is stretches of language. Modern linguistics, such as generative linguistics, regards a sentence as a maximum unit of language. They were successful in description of phonology and grammar. However, they had one serious weakness in their description. That was meaning. In the 1980s, the major impetus came from Lakoff and Johnson (1980). They were influential in putting meaning back on the main interest agenda (Geeraerts, 2015). Since then, discourse is the maximum unit for linguistic research. The second is ‘remain united’. In other words, stretches of language go together as if they look like one individual word. In this regard, meaning or semantics is more focused.

The following passage indicates what discourse looks like from the SLA perspective. That is, discourse is described socially and contextually.

In the intersection of discourse and SLA, the strain between psycholinguistic and sociolinguistic perspectives has existed for decades. From the psycholinguistic perspective, language is a purely cognitive phenomenon and SLA occurs in negotiated interaction between native speakers and learners or among learners […]. However, negotiated interaction is also quintessentially social. Indeed, from the sociolinguistic perspective, language learners employ linguistic forms resourcefully and strategically to achieve social and interactional purposes and collaborate with other speakers to construct meaningful discourse. In this case, SLA is impacted by contextual factors in social interaction. (Boxer & Zhu, 2017, p. 3)

Discourse is regarded as spoken language in a narrow sense, but in a broad sense, it is the entirety of a social interaction (Barron & Schneider, 2014). Then it is no wonder that a movie script can be a discourse.

Then what does DA do in relation to language play? DA supports pragmatic meaning, not semantic meaning because DA emphasizes society and context. Moreover, pragmatic meaning creates context, and context matches pragmatic meaning with linguistic meaning. As far as social interaction and context are emphasized, DA of movie or film has pedagogical implications. Simply put, conducting discourse analysis means examining how language functions and how meaning is created in different social context (Luo, 2019).

3. Films and Discourse Analysis

In this section, let’s review some literature related to studies that were conducted through DA. Goziyah, Sunendar, and Rasyid (2018) researched the relationship between language and ideology. In order to do this, they used the 2016 Indonesian drama film, Rudy Habibie: Habibie & Ainun 2 (Bramantyo, 2016). The purpose of their study was to focus on the ideologies presented in movie discourse and encourage the development of students’ critical thinking. Bo (2018) studied how multimodal discourse would be expressed in movies. Multimodal discourse includes “sound, language, image and action” (p. 132). He used the 2012 American drama film, Argo (Affleck, 2012). He found that the movie constructed multimodal discourse through a certain context. Giampieri (2018) studied spoken discourse of films. She found that many instances of colloquial expressions were authentic. However, dubbed versions were unfortunately “lost in translation” (p. 399). She concluded that despite some weaknesses, films could raise L2 learners’ awareness and stimulate salience and noticing. The following quote expresses how good films are used in an EFL classroom.

Since students are bombarded with mass media, curriculum developers and teachers have to make use of it in their curriculum since it provides both audio and visual features. In this context, the use of films can provide a good path to create different atmosphere in the classroom where students both learn and enjoy learning. (Tanriverdi, 2007, p. 2)

Tanriverdi (2007) and Giampieri (2018) recommended the use of movies in EFL classrooms for language learning. However, there are currently few studies that relate language play and language awareness.


1. Goal

The goal of this case study is to instruct the participants to focus on language interaction among characters through movie discourse and to find an appropriate connection between language form and context-based pragmatic meaning. Reading a part of the drama script, the participants choose their preferable expressions. Across three consecutive stages, the teacher supports the learners to find proper utterances through two interventions. The first intervention is about an explanation. The second one is for direct demonstration in pairing language form and pragmatic meaning. If they give an indication to improve awareness, this study is satisfied.

2. Material

The text material in this study is the American comedy television series, Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Lord & Miller, 2017), season 1, episode 1. Since this drama is a comedy, the participants can enjoy the storyline even though they are not ready to fully understand the linguistic items used in it. Also, this comedy can encourage the participants to pay attention to language items in utterances of the drama. This is because the show provides abundant context to the learners. Thus, they are given the opportunity to match language forms with the relevant meanings. Therefore, this show is appropriate for this study.

3. Participants

Two college-level beginners participated in this case study. Their TOEIC scores are less than 400, and their motivation to learn the English language was very low. In fact, they were not interested in learning English. However, their participation level for this study was much higher compared to their TOEIC scores and motivation. Both participants had a perfect attendance rate over two-month duration of this project. Their perfect attendance might indicate that each participant had the chance to accomplish the goal of the study.

Moreover, this study allowed the participants to have some experience in using film for their English learning. Since both participants were beginners, if they could successfully enhance their language awareness by finding language play in drama utterance, it is likely that intermediate and advanced learners could also benefit from similar interventions. In that sense, the two beginner students were just right for this case study.

4. Procedure

This case study took place once a week for two and a half months. In total, there will be 10 sessions, with a single session lasting one hour. The procedure for this study is as follows: First, a teacher instructs the participants to choose their preferable expressions (the first stage). Second, the teacher analyzes the characteristics of the chosen utterance from the participants. Third, the teacher introduces several concepts such as language awareness, language play, etc. (the second stage). Fourth, they complete the first stage one more time. Fifth, the teacher gives a demonstration of how language form is paired with pragmatic meaning (the third stage). Sixth, after they have completed the activities with both interventions, the results are analyzed by the teacher.

5. A Working Definition of Discourse Analysis

In this case study, DA is used to provide L2 learners with pragmatic context of the drama. Then, the pragmatic context constructs meaning for utterances. This will help beginning level L2 learners to translate linguistic utterances into pragmatically meaningful utterances. Through this process, L2 learners can find that linguistic items can be used in a meaningful way, and they can observe a so-called language play. In this regard, DA can be defined as mediator between form and meaning.


1. Choice of Expressions Before Discourse Analysis

In this stage, a teacher gave the first guided instruction in which “Choose five utterances which you think are attractive or meaningful to you. And describe reasons why you choose such utterances.” The participants were instructed to make a list of five utterances. The participants included reasons why they made their selections. A teacher analyzed the reasons. He decided whether the choices would be inclined semantically or syntactically. If the choices were inclined syntactically, the participants were regarded as doing a language play. The results are found below.

A closer look at Table 1 shows that with regards to number 1, participant A described two reasons about content and one reason about language form. The reason he described the content was because he personally preferred this drama. Next, for number 2, he described one reason about language form. For number 3 showed that he described one reason about content. Then for number 4, participant A gave one reason about language form. Lastly, for number 5, he described one reason for content and another reason for language form. In sum, participant A described a total of four contents and four language forms, an equal distribution.

Participant A’s Choices and Reasons

In Table 2, participant A paid attention to content (half) and focused on language form (half). Since language play is related to form, language form will be treated here. In the first utterance, he focused on squad, which he already knew. He was familiar with a squad in sports. To him, a squad was extended to the police department. Thus, he recognized the word easily thanks to his previous knowledge about the use of the word in a sports context. In the second utterance, gifted was noticed to him because it was new information. In the fourth utterance, grow up was noticed because it was used humorously used. In the fifth utterance, the word history was polysemously used to him.

Summary of Both Language and Content of Participant A

In sum, participant A had a rule for his notice. First, a word was noticed when he had previous knowledge about it. Second, this word was then compared to the previous context. Third, such comparison brought him some enjoyment and curiosity. Unknown words were not noticed at all.

In Table 3 number 1, participant B gave one reason about language form. In number 2, he gave one reason about language form. In number 3, he gave one reason about language form. In number 4, he gave one reason about language form. In number 5, participant B appended one reason about language form. Participant B paid attention to language form completely. Below is a summary table of participant B’s description.

Participant B’s Choices and Reasons

In Table 4, taken away was noticed in the first utterance. Participant B compared this verbal phrase with the same meaning word of Korean usage. In the second utterance, gift stood out because this was different from the previous knowledge of gift. In the third utterance, the phrase bet over was simply new to him, so it was not related to noticing. In the fourth utterance, well put was noticed because it was compared with his previous knowledge (good saying). The fifth utterance was ignored like the third utterance. In summation, his strategy of noticing was similar to participant A. He used a comparison strategy between old and new information.

Summary of Both Language and Content of Participant B

2. Choice of Expressions After Discourse Analysis 1

In section IV. 1., the participants were unable to identify the grammatical meanings. In this stage, attention to form (grammar learning) was strengthened. In other words, there was the teacher’s interventions to help the participants catch salient features. Because grammar has less salient words, they cause errors and mistakes from L2 learners (Ellis, 2016). When L2 learners use films, they tend to pick out salient features from their past experiences or previous knowledge (Boswijk & Coler, 2020; Rácz, 2013). Here is the second guided instruction in which “Please choose five utterances. More focus on language items, especially less salient words.”

In DA 1, the participants were instructed to focus on language items, especially minor words such as prepositions, adverbs, and suffixes. Here are the results.

In Table 5, participant A described two words: fuzzy and bust in the first utterance. In the second utterance, he noticed a prepositional phrase, in many moons. In the third utterance, participant A paid attention to the verb crack. In the fourth utterance, he paid attention to the verb update. It is important to note that the directions asked him to choose five utterances, but he only selected four. He was interviewed about this. His answer was that he felt a large amount of stress writing down reasons. He said he was fine with picking out utterances, but writing reasons was challenging for him. That’s why he dropped one utterance. In this regard, writing reasons, which is supposed to promote language awareness, has a long way to go. In this stage, a guide instruction made him more focused on forms.

Participant A’s Choices and Reasons After DA 1

In Table 6, to begin with, he chose two words. The first one was fuzzy. He took it as a form of address. Based on his reason, it was unclear whether it was related to language play, salience, or etc. Instead, a form of address met his eyes. Thanks to meta-linguistic explanation, he made an effort to focus on different forms which he had never tried before. The second one was bust. His previous knowledge of bust led to a sort of meaning extension of bust. In the second utterance, he found a prepositional phrase, in many moons. Its idiomatic meaning shed light on the form. In the third utterance, the verb crack was salient by his previous knowledge of crack. In the fourth utterance, update was noticed during a translation from English into Korean.

Summary of Both Language and Content of Participant A After DA 1

In sum, his strategy of noticing linguistic items was the same as before DA. However, when he was instructed meta-linguistically, he showed sort of a variety of linguistic items as salient items. Importantly, during this stage, participants did not reach an understanding of grammatical meanings. They simply included minor words in a huge sequence of linguistic items (e.g., prepositional phrase).

In Table 7, similar to participant A, participant B chose a prepositional phrase, in many moons for the first utterance. In the second utterance, he noticed the verb crack and interpreted it in his own way. In the third utterance, the phrase do the honors was found. He interpreted the phrase through the dictionary meaning of honors. He found it was wrong. Through this process, he found the correct meaning. In the fourth utterance, he paid attention to the verb last. During the translation of it, he found an appropriate contextual meaning. Then it was noticed. In the fifth utterance, he paid attention to heading back. During the translation process, he realized that the combination of head and back gave him a fresh feeling.

Participant B’s Choices and Reasons After DA 1

In sum, his attention was a little enlarged. Though he did not reach understanding of grammatical meanings, he noticed a prepositional phrase, phrase, and verb + adverb. Meta-linguistic explanation or explicit instruction was effective for him to improve his vocabulary.

In Table 8, unlike participant A, participant B managed five utterances. He also confessed that this activity was hard. He said that he did not know how to describe writing reasons. For the first utterance, he explained well about in many moons. This was an idiomatic or metaphorical expression. Yet, he easily found the prepositional expression special. In the second utterance, crack was meaningfully extended. He did not lose such a transition. In the third utterance, he caught the phrase, do the honors. To participant B, the phrase was a meaning extension because of honors. His previous knowledge of honors made him salient to the new meaning of honors. In the fourth utterance, last was successfully translated according to the context. In the fifth utterance, head back was visually interpreted. Participant B paid attention to head and back separately.

Summary of Both Language and Content of Participant B After DA 1

3. Choice of Expressions After Discourse Analysis 2

As mentioned in the previous section, the participants improved their selection skills. They could find individual words, phrases, and sequences of linguistic items. Yet, they did not reach understanding of the grammatical meanings. In this section, the teacher provided the participants with contextual meaning through DA. The participants were more encouraged to match contextual meaning with linguistic meaning. There is the third guided instruction in which “Guide instruction: Choose five utterances which you think deserve to describe. Keep in mind that contextual meaning and linguistic meaning should be matched well”.

In third guided instruction, participants concentrated on natural or contextual translation from English to Korean. Then the teacher guided the participants to be conscious of the grammatical meanings. Here are the results.

In Table 9, participant A chose pencil pusher as an office worker in the first utterance. In the second utterance, big swing was noticed with an explanation of the relevant context. In the third utterance, alert was chosen. In the fourth utterance, a grinder was interpreted as a hard worker.

Participant A’s Choices and Reasons After DA 2

Similar to the last section, Participant A dropped one utterance again. He couldn’t get over cognitive pressure. However, the third guide instruction influenced his choice of linguistic items. This time the four linguistic items were explained well according to contextual meaning even though he did not show understanding of grammatical meanings. Let’s analyze Table 10 in detail.

Summary of Both Language and Content of Participant A After DA 2

In Table 10, the four linguistic items were well explained by their context. Participant A even rendered a synonymous word for each chosen linguistic item. Considering he was a beginner, work with a synonymous word was amazing. An important outcome was an understanding of grammatical meeting was expected from the third guide instruction, but it made him more focused on lexical meaning with contextual meaning.

Table 11 is very funny. Comparing this table to Table 3, participant B selected four out of five sentences. However, he looked at the utterances from different perspectives. The first utterance was not copied from Table 3. He saw edge as meaning extension. In the second utterance, he found the grammatical meaning of the preposition out of. In the third utterance, gifted was the same as that of Table 3. In the fourth utterance, he looked at bet over differently from bet on which he already knew. He thought that bet over and bet on had the same meanings but different forms. In the fifth utterance, the whole sentence was focused on. He paraphrased the expression. In sum, participant B found grammatical meaning. Thus, third guide instruction was the most effective.

Participant B’s Choices and Reasons After DA 2

In the first utterance, edge was explained well thanks to contextual meaning. In the second utterance, participant B could explain the grammatical meaning. It was a new discovery. The third utterance was the same as before, so it does not need to be explained again. In the fourth utterance, participant B compared bet over with bet on, which he already knew. In the fifth utterance, he gave two similar expressions to the chosen expression. Lastly, in Table 3, he focused on well put, but in Table 11 and 12, he concentrated on the whole expression including well put.

Summary of Summary of Both Language and Content of Participant B After DA 2

In sum, participant A presented similar phrases or utterances based on contextual meaning. However, he did not find a single grammatical meaning. On the other hand, participant B found one grammatical form to which he gave a grammatical meaning.


Movie English is attractive to L2 learners. It has many practical expressions and idiomatic ones which L2 learners cannot construct with their own grammatical knowledge. The problem is how L2 learners take expressions out of it. They can pick up some practical expressions as whole units, but they need to learn grammatical knowledge inside the expressions. It should be added to their language learning and development. In this paper, an approach was suggested to improve L2 learners’ grammatical knowledge in the process of learning attractive expressions. The approach was to develop their language awareness with language play through DA. DA was assumed to provide pragmatic and contextual meaning to linguistic expressions.

Two beginners joined in this case study. They were administered in 3 stages. In the first stage, they chose whatever they preferred. In the second stage, small instruction through DA was given, and in the third instruction, they were given more contextual and pragmatic meanings. Then they were supposed to match linguistic expressions with contextual and pragmatic meaning. The result indicated that L2 learners had some awareness of linguistic items in the first stage. Yet, their linguistic items were limited to individual words and content words. In the second stage, when they were instructed about language play as awareness, their discovery of linguistic items was expanded a little. However, they did not reach grammatical meanings in this stage either. In the third stage, the result pointed to the fact that they were getting stronger in explaining sequences of linguistic items, even though grammatical meanings were mentioned only once by participant B. Therefore, this case study was effective with some instruction provided.

There are some pedagogical instructions for EFL teachers. It is important that teachers teach grammatical knowledge as well as practical expressions. Plus, they need to remember that grammatical knowledge is secondary and not primary. In other words, grammatical knowledge should be taught in the process of teaching practical expressions. Beginners are very low in linguistic knowledge, and they cannot be productive in the first place. However, when they are exposed to salience and noticing as an input, their receptive grammatical awareness will be turned into a productive one.


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Article information Continued


Participant A’s Choices and Reasons

No. Participant’s choices Reasons
1 Tell me about your detective squad. I chose this expression because it’s the scene where the police captain wanted to know about the police team. I thought it was interesting because it’s the first time to get to know the characters of the show. Especially I like the “detective squad” expression. I saw the word “squad” used in football (soccer) games before but to see it used in police settings was new. [My translation]
2 He’s not physically gifted. I never thought “gifted” could be used for explaining about one’s ability. In Korean we normally say “physical sense is not good” but it was very interesting to see “gifted” instead. [My translation]
3 She and Peralta have some big bet over who gets more arrests this year. This shows the relation and competitive nature between Amy and Peralta in the police squad. Im expecting how the two will untie the knots throughout the show. [My translation]
4 The only puzzle he hasn’t solved is how to grow up. Peralta is good at catching thieves and solving issues. However, he still acts very childish. I think that using the expression “grow up” fits well to explain “childish” meaning. [My translation]
5 Look, you know my history. You know how important this is to me. This quote explains who the “real” captain is for the show. I also thought “know my history” expression was fun because I didn’t know one could explain “my past” this way. [My translation]


Summary of Both Language and Content of Participant A

Utterance Content Language form (Reason) Judgment
1 2 squad (polysemous word) Language play
2 0 gifted (cultural contrast) Language play
3 1 NA
4 0 grow up (meaning extension) Language play
5 1 history (polysemous word) Language play


Participant B’s Choices and Reasons

No. Participant’s Choices Reasons
1 No! That takes all the fun out of it. I liked how the “fun” is “taken away.” In Korean, we normally say “the fun is gone.” [My translation]
2 He’s not physically gifted. I liked how you can “gift” an ability depending on the performance. [My translation]
3 She and Peralta have some big bet over how gets arrests this year. I never saw “bet over~” expression before. [My translation]
4 That was very well put. I found it interesting that you can say “well put” to say “that was good saying.” [My translation]
5 I’ve talked a lot about jake in my departmentally mandated therapy sessions. I have never heard of “departmentally mandated therapy” expression before. [My translation]


Summary of Both Language and Content of Participant B

Utterance Content Language form (Reason) Judgment
1 0 taken away (cultural contrast) Language play
2 0 gift (meaning extension) Language play
3 0 bet over (new phrase)
4 0 well put (polysemy) Language play
5 0 departmentally therapy session (new phrase)


Participant A’s Choices and Reasons After DA 1

No. Participant’s choices Reasons
1 You did it, fuzzy. You busted ’em. When I first heard “fuzzy cuddle bear” I thought fuzzy was just a nickname for someone. But it was actually describing the texture of being “fuzzy” or “furry.” Also the word “busted” was used to “catch the thief” the word busted has the meaning of “destroying something” however using that to catch the bad guy, made me think they actually tried to “destroy” the thief. [My translation]

2 I haven’t known the touch of a woman in many moons. The expression many moons was similar to “very long time.” In Korean we use the phrase “after many nights” and it was similar to that too. I thought the similarity was impressive. [My translation]
3 Yes, I did crack the case. I could easily understand that “crack” was used to solve a case. When you play games in Korea normally, we say “we crashed the level” to clear the stage. It was great to see that in English they use a similar expression like “crash.” [My translation]

4 JP, update on the Morgenthau murder? I thought using “update” to show the progress of the case was very clear to understand. In Korean we don’t have a single word to show “update” and have to use a full sentence. This was short and clear to understand. [My translation]


Summary of Both Language and Content of Participant A After DA 1

Utterance Content Language form (Reason) Judgment
1 0 fuzzy (not clear) Not clear
busted (meaning extension) Language play
2 0 in many moons (metaphor) Language play
3 0 crack (meaning extension) Language play
4 0 update (cultural contrast) Language play


Participant B’s Choices and Reasons After DA 1

No. Participant’s choices Reasons
1 I haven’t known the touch of a woman in many moons. I thought using moons to express the meaning of many days was very interesting. Normally the moon only appears once a day, so I guess they used it to show how many days has passed by using the phrase “in many moons.” [My translation]
2 (Jake) Yes, I did crack the case. When you look up “crack” it means “breaking an object.” In this sentence it literally means “break the case.” So, I thought it had a negative meaning such as “failing the case.” However surprisingly it actually meant “solve the case.” It was an opposite meaning! [My translation]
3 So, Santiago, would you do the honors? I thought “do the honors” will feel the honorary moments. However, the dictionary indicated that its actually being the “master of all.” I thought that “being a master” is like receiving all the attention from everyone. I thought that was the same meaning as having that honorary moment because I’m getting all the attention. [My translation]
4 Enjoy it while it lasts. “Last” means the effect will persist. But I found out it’s not only restricted to effects but also means that “fun” can “last!” [My translation]
5 We’re heading back when they’re done. In English “head” is used often as an indicator to directions. But by using “heading back” it can mean “going backwards!” Now that’s impressive! [My translation]


Summary of Both Language and Content of Participant B After DA 1

Utterance Content Language form (Reason) Judgment
1 0 in many moons (metaphor) Language play
2 0 crack (meaning extension) Language play
3 0 do the honors (meaning extension) Language play
4 0 last (contextual meaning) Language play
5 0 heading back (visual direction) Language play


Participant A’s Choices and Reasons After DA 2

No. Participant’s choices Reasons
1 But this new guy’s gonna be another washed-up pencil pusher. This phrase shows that the new captain is only an office worker. I thought just saying ‘office worker’ would be enough. However, by using pencil pusher, it shows an opposite meaning from being a cop. Normally, as a cop you would expect someone to be very active, but by saying he’s a “pencil pusher” it was really clear to understand the difference between the expressions. [My translation]
2 Look, a Rihanna concert’s a pretty big swing, man. This scene is about making a big move with a big risk. But by using the expression “big swing” it gave the meaning actually taking a “huge swing” at something. I thought this expression was straight forward and easy to understand. [My translation]
3 New captain alert. “Alert” was used to say, “be careful” or “beware.” I thought using “alert” was appropriate to show the urgency of the situation. It was easy to understand and also thought I could use it in real life situations. [My translation]
4 Charles Boyle. He’s a grinder. Instead of using “hard worker” the grinder image had a meaning of “grinding out something” I thought this expression shows even working harder than the actual expression “working harder.” [My translation]


Summary of Both Language and Content of Participant A After DA 2

Utterance Content Language form (Reason) Judgment
1 0 pencil pusher = office worker (contextual meaning) Language play (awareness or noticing)
2 0 big swing = heavy risk (contextual meaning) Language play (awareness or noticing)
3 0 alert = beware (contextual meaning) Language play (awareness or noticing)
4 0 hard worker = grinder (contextual meaning)


Participant B’s Choices and Reasons After DA 2

No. Participant’s choices Reasons
1 Lost my edge. Edge meaning is “corner” or “knife blade.” There was no meaning of “courage.” But in this case by losing the edge, one could indicate that the “knife blade” is no longer there, which also could me to “lose courage.” [My translation]
2 No! That takes all the fun out of it. I would say “that’s not funny” or “that’s boring.” But in this case the expression said “taking the fun out” which was very interesting. [My translation]
3 He’s not physically gifted. I would try to say a more directive expression such as “he’s not a good at athletic.” But instead, this express used the word “gifted” as gift to be good at athletics. This was very interesting. [My translation]
4 She and Peralta have some big bet over who gets more arrests this year. I thought “making a bet” was “bet on~” but in this case it was “bet over~.” [My translation]
5 That was very well put. To say it’s a good expression, I would normally try to say, “that expression is so good” or “I like that expression.” But the expression “put” was used to show that the expression was well “inserted!” this was very straight forward and easy to understand. [My translation]


Summary of Summary of Both Language and Content of Participant B After DA 2

Utterance Content Language form Judgment
1 0 edge (meaning extension) Language play
2 0 out of (grammatical meaning) Language play
3 0 gift (meaning extension) Language play
4 0 bet over (another phrase)
5 0 whole expression (synonym) Language play