are relatively common words in Persian. For example, the English word “parsang” is taken from the Latin word “Parsanga” which is the same as ancient Persian word “Fra-sanga” or “فرسنگ”. If Persian bilingual students know the Persian words, and recognize the cognate relationships, their Persian knowledge should provide them with substantial help in English vocabulary, especially difficultreading vocabulary.
Research with bilingual students who are expert readers in English suggests that such students do makeuse of their knowledge of cognate relationships (Jim6nez, 1992; Jim6nez, Garcia, & Pearson). On the other hand, there is some anecdotal evidence (Garcfa, 1988) that upperelementary Hispanic bilingual students sometimes overlook even obvious parallels between Spanish andEnglish, and hence do not fully utilize the potential help offered by cognates.
The specific objectives of the current study are twofold: First, we want to determine whether there istransfer of lexical knowledge from students’ first language to reading in a second language–that is, arestudents able to apply their knowledge of words and concepts in Persian when reading English text?Second, we want to know the extent to which this transfer of lexical knowledge is mediated by awarenessof cognate relationships between English and Persian.
Are there shared representations in the bilingual lexicon? Cross-language cognates are of special interest for understanding the structure of the bilingual lexicon, because there is a possibility that representations of cognates can be shared between two languages of a bilingual.
Cross-language cognates are words which have similar meaning and similar phonological (and sometimes orthographical) form in two languages. They may have common origin (historically -for related languages), or be borrowed either from one of the two languages or from the same third language. In English and Persian, obvious cognates are usually borrowings from each other and from other languages, especially French, Greek and Latin; and some of these cognates are words of Indo-European origin.
A variety of studies has demonstrated that bilinguals process highly formsimilar cognates differently from other words (Sherkina, 2003).One such finding is the cognate facilitation effect: bilinguals produce and recognize cognates faster than non-cognates (Costa et al, 2000. Dijkstra et al, 1999. Schelletter, 2002.).
In a word association task, response latencies were also faster to cognates than to non-cognates (Van Hell & De Groot, 1998. Dijkstra& Van Hell, 2001). Other findings in Van Hell & De Groot (1998) were that associations were also faster to concrete words than to abstract words, and to nouns than to verbs; and that associations in two languages are more similar for cognates, concrete words and nouns. Based on this, the authors suggested that cognates (and concrete words and nouns) share more conceptual features with their translation equivalents. However, this is not always true for cognates. On the one hand, there are cognates which only share certain conceptual features or certain meanings between languages; on the other hand, there exist non-cognate translation equivalents which share most or a complete array of conceptual features, such as words for certain animals and plants, scientific terms and calques. Therefore, the sharing of more conceptual features is not sufficient for the explanation of the cognate advantage: form similarity should also be taken into account. The difference in the processing of cognates and non-cognates in the word association task is therefore more likely to be present in the word recognition component, not in the association. Thus, the word association data also demonstrate the cognate facilitation effect.
In the case of cognates, the same phonemes are activated from two sources, and it becomes easier to select them. However, there are two problems with this account. First, if a selected concept always activates its forms in both languages, translation should therefore be a very easy task for a bilingual. However, this is not always the case. As many of us have experienced, it is sometimes very difficult to access the translation equivalent, even for the word that has just been produced, and even though it is present in the lexicon. Second, the explanation might work for highly related languages, such as Spanish and Catalan, which were used in Costa et al’s experiments, but not for less closely related languages, such as English and Persian, where the phonemes are not identical.
It is logical to suggest that cognate facilitation occurs because using cognates means accessing (almost) the same phonological form to express (almost) the same concept in more than one language, i.e. that the cognate facilitation effect is due to a cognate’s increased frequency (of the shared part), to which both language-specific frequencies contribute. Therefore, the magnitude of the cognate facilitation effect should be frequency-dependent: the higher the frequency of a cognate in the non-selected language, the greater facilitation. (Sherkina, 2004).
Since cognates are translation equivalents, they are expected to share a concept; since they have similar form, like homonyms, they are expected to share a form. However, in most cases, complete sharing between languages is impossible: conceptual representations can differ in some features, and phonological forms usually differ, if not in segments, at least in phonetic features. What is possible, however, is a large overlap in features (assuming distributed representations (Hinton et al. 1986, Van Hell & De Groot 1998, Wilson 1999)). The degree of semantic and phonological overlap correlates positively with the magnitude of effects caused by sharing (Fang et al. 1981, Cristofanini et al. 1986). Incomplete overlap should not be a problem for the frequency effect. Cognates can be stored similarly to different morphological forms of a word (especially in the case of regular correspondence patterns): they are somewhat different phonologically, and yet are considered the same word.
The selected vocabularies are basedmainly on written corpora. The Persian corpus includes modern fiction, politicaltexts, newspapers and popular sciences, i.e. only written language.
2.2. Trends in lexicology:
All living languages change with time. Many modern languages were first regional dialects that became widely spoken and highly differentiated, finally becoming separate languages.
A proto-language is the ancestral language from which related languages have developed. Both Latin and Proto-Germanic were descendants of an older language called Indo-European.
English (with the age of about 1000 years), German, Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, Icelandic are sister languages. That is, they descended from one parent and are more closely related to one another.
According to Capuz (1997), general linguistics is still in search of a valid general classification of linguistic borrowing or interference, that is, the exchange of linguistic material between two varietiesofspeech, mainly two languages. From the very beginning of interlinguistic studies, someauthors tried to sketch a classification of borrowing and interference. However, thisattempt has always been fraught with difficulties. According to Capuz (1997, P.82), the problems of classifying linguistic borrowing are as follows:
“1-Firstly, several ways of classifying linguistic contacts can be devised, and these waysare regarded as complementary but not reciprocally comparable. M.Pergnier states that “ily a de nombreusesfacons de distinguer et de classer les faits de langue auxquelsonapplique le nom d’anglicismes :domainesd’emploi, fréquence, degréd’intégration, typed’interférence (lexical, syntaxique, idiomatique, etc.)”
2-Moreover, these classifications are felt to be artificial and lacking full validity, as welinguists propose discrete categories that cannot embrace all the fact
ors involved in a givensocio-linguistic situation. In proposing a typology of interference for Canadian Frenchanglicisms, Lionel Meney points out that a classification of borrowing should take intoaccount sociolinguistic factors such as sex, social status, communicative situation, and register.
3-Finally, global objections to the validity of a classification of linguistic borrowing aretaken by ElsOksaar: on one side, we cannot devise a general typology of borrowing onthe basis of a few Western languages; on the other, successive attempts to classifyborrowing are felt to be partial and imperfect, simply “because of the insufficiency of thepresent systems to cover most of the possibilities of the process and of the results oflinguistic integration”.
According to Resla (2006), Cognate words in two or more languages have a common originbecause of their diachronic relationship and, as a result, they share some sort of formaland/or semantic affinity. Cognate words can facilitate the foreign language learningprocess; they have similar meanings and, therefore, they can support the acquisitionand/or learning of a non-native language. However, these words can also have adeceptive meaning as a result of semantic change and dissimilar development in twolanguages, i.e., they may be deceptive cognate words or false friends. False friends areespecially problematic for language learners as they tend to overgeneralize and assumethey know the meaning of these words, which are actually misleading.
Cross-linguistic influence and its consequences for the teaching and learning of non-native languages has interested researchers in the last decades, who have concentratedmainly on the analysis of evidence of L1 traces in L2 phonetic, syntactic or morphologicalproduction. Nevertheless, as Odlin (2003: 437) states, “[…] anyone seeking to understandtransfer itself in all its manifestations needs to try to become familiar with a wide range oflinguistic research; neglecting to do so can result in making claims that do not square withthe available evidence (as has happened fairly often)”. More recently, studies haveexamined how cross-linguistic evidence affects most linguistic subsystems such aspragmatics, semantics, syntax, morphology, phonology, phonetics, orthography, etc., notonly in the second but also in the third or subsequent language.
According to Cenoz (2001) and Kellerman (1983), cross-linguistic influencetends to be present in language learners’ production when the mother tongue and the targetlanguage are typologically related.
Cross-linguistic influence in second language acquisition has been related to
Language proficiency (Ringbom 1987; Mِhle 1989; Poulisse 1990; Cenoz 2001); lessproficient learners generally transfer more elements from their first language than thosewho have a high proficiency. This phenomenon can occur with Spanish learners ofEnglish but it should be noticed that the existence of false friends in specialized jargonis also frequent given the fact that English often incorporates technical words of Latinorigin. Furthermore, the presence of false friends in proficient language users such astranslators, language teachers, journalists, etc. is not to be underestimated because theyare often difficult to identify.
In second language teaching, the historical relationship between the languages in
Contact, that is, the L1 (First language) and the L2 (Second language) has generally beenanalyzed from two main perspectives as far as the lexical component is concerned: first, asan element that favors or facilitates the language learning process, depending on thelinguistic closeness (positive transfer) or, second, as a determining factor that hinders thecourse of learning, as a result of the interferences caused by the unwanted similarities ordifferences between the languages involved (negative transfer). Some studies have beencarried out in order to analyze the
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