List of Graphs
Graph (4.1) Lexical knowledge in control and experimental group from pre-test to post-test ………………………………………………………………………………………….….………65
Graph (4.2) Means of post-test of experimental and control group………………………69
This study aimed at investigatingThe Effect of bilingual Teaching of Cognate Words (Persian-English) on Iranian upper intermediate EFL learners’ knowledge of Lexical development. For this purpose,100subjects participated in this studyout of which 40 learners were selected for this study and they were assigned into two groups, control and experimental.
Cross-language cognates (words with similar form and meaning in different languages) are of special interest for designing a model in TEFL, since they help teacher make the teaching of English vocabularies a joyful and lasting effect for Persian students. True cognates are the result of kinship relations across languages, or borrowings. False and true cognates might be found in nearly all languages with any kind of relation to other languages. There are still some “real” cognates found in the lexicon of Persian and English.
Then the datawas analyzed statistically through ANCOVA. The results of the study showed that the learners’ lexical knowledge was improved when they are presented with bilingual Teaching of Cognate Words (Persian-English).
The conclusions of this study will provide new insights into the linguistic and the communication problems derived from a misuse of these lexical items. The study of false friends and true Cognates has several implications for contrastive analysts, error analysts, translators, foreign language teachers and learners, curriculum designers, as well as lexicographers and lexicologists.
Key words: cognate word, EFL students, Lexical development
Cross-language cognates (words with similar form and meaning in different languages) are of special interest for designing a model of the bilingual lexicon because there is a possibility that they may have overlapping representations between the two languages of a bilingual. Among other effects related to cognates, the cognate facilitation effect was discovered: bilinguals produce and recognize cognates faster than non-cognates. One possibility to explain the cognate facilitation effect is through shared/overlapping representations of cognates and the word frequency effect. Since using a pair of cognates in two languages requires accessing (almost) the same phonological form in connection to (almost) the same concept, the overall frequency of a cognate increases.
Research in first-language reading has repeatedly documented a strong correlational relationshipbetween students’ vocabulary knowledge and their ability to comprehend text (Anderson &Freebody, 1981).
Research in second-language reading has tended to focus more on morphology and syntax than onvocabulary (Weber, 1991).
One of the underlying assumptions in bilingual education is that students who are literate in their firstlanguage can transfer some of their knowledge and skills in first-language reading to second-languagereading (Grabe, 1988). There is some empirical evidence for this claim (Hudelson, 1981;Langer, Bartolom6, Vasquez, & Lucas, 1990). For example, we know that students’ readingperformance in their first language tends to correlate with that in their second language (Tregar&Wong, 1984), and that proficient readers in both languages, as compared to less proficient readers, arebetter at using “meaning making” strategies in the two languages (Langer et al., 1990). However, we do not know much about the specific types of knowledge and strategies that transfer, nor do we knowthe conditions under which such transference might occur.
The purpose of our study was to examine the extent to which bilingual Persian students in the intermediate grades in Iran are able to transfer vocabulary knowledge in their first languageto reading in their second language through the use of cognates. Many words in English, especially inacademic and technical English, have close Iranian cognates. That is, Persian words with obviousorthographic similarity and closely related meaningsIn many cases, words in the two languages arealmost identical both in spelling and meaning (e.g., balcony, and buss, mother). Sometimes there are onlyminor, predictable changes in spelling (e.g., orange/نارنج, paradise/پردیس, and damp/دم).Because much of English academic vocabulary is derived from Latin, many words that are academic orrare words in English have cognates that 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.
1. Theoretical Framework
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 is transfer 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.).
1.2. Significance and purpose of the study
According to Resla (2006), Cognate words in two or more languages have a common origin because of their diachronic relationship and, as a result, they share some sort of formal and/or semantic affinity. Cognate words can facilitate the foreign language learning process; they have similar meanings and, therefore, they can support the acquisition and/or learning of a non-native language. However, these words can also have a deceptive meaning as a result of semantic change and dissimilar development in two languages, i.e., they may be deceptive
cognate words or false friends. False friends are especially problematic for language learners as they tend to overgeneralize and assume they know the meaning of these words, which are actually misleading.
As far as reading comprehension is concerned, Ringbom (1992), indicates that if the L2 is closely related to the L1, the language learner will benefit from the existence of cognate words, given the fact that both, recognition and understanding of these words is less demanding than completely alien words. In fact, many of these words are not eventually learned but the formal similarity, especially in writing, helps the language learner to understand the text and to accomplish a smooth reading but, conversely, there is little psycholinguistic processing. Rather, unconsciously, the language learner tends to consider cognate words as a help for his reading, which do not require special attention. So, Ringbom (1992), introduces the idea of potential knowledge to refer to the learners’ knowledge or familiarity with a word or grammar construction which, in fact, has not been seen before in the L2. It goes without saying that the closer the typological proximity between languages, the more chances the language learner has to find instances of this potential knowledge, at least as far as receptive skills are concerned, i.e., listening and, especially, reading. Whereas the absence of cognate words between the L1 and the L2 considerably reduces the amount of‘familiar’ vocabulary that the language learner has access to, and the range between ‘active’ and ‘passive’ vocabulary diminishes considerably (Ringbom, 1992). Ringbom’s research centers on two languages, which are rather close from a morpho-syntactic point of view, i.e. English and French.The primary motivation for writing this thesiswas the hope that it mayfoster a greater appreciation of the variances among different languages andcultures, and ultimately nurture a greater understanding among those who speakapparently different languages. After all, we have all come from the same“home”, have gathered around the same “fire” and share the same innate “HumanLanguage.”
1.3. Statement of the Problem
Surveys on the false friendship phenomenon are rather scarce (Chacón, 2006).Studies show that almost all language users of IE languages are bored and confused in comprehending those languages which share common features inversely. Moreover, they are less likely to learn. For increasing learner engagement and deeply understanding of materials it is better to eradicate the sources of miscomprehension. There might be also false friends in two or many IE languages that make the comprehension doubly difficult. The learner may assume that since the source and target language have the same form, they can also have the same meaning or stylistic features.
Unfortunately, the superficial differences in our colorful words havedisguised our oneness. The intolerance of differences has penetrated so deeplythat, throughout history, many nations have attempted to use the differences inlanguages as a means to subjugate or humiliate others. For example, the word“barbarian,” which literally means “people who speak a different language,” hasbeen so widely abused that today its meaning is all inclusive to mean wild anduncivilized. (Nourai, 1998)
1.4. Research Question of the study
Research question is about the effects that these cognate words have on Iranian EFL learners:
RQ: Doesbilingual Teaching of Cognate Words (Persian-English) have any effect onIranian EFL learners’ knowledge of Lexical development?
1.5. Hypothesis of the study
The hypothesis of the study is as follow:
H0: Bilingual Teaching of Cognate Words (Persian-English) does not have any effect onIranian EFL learners’ knowledge of Lexical development
1.6. Definitions of Key Terms
True cognate word: cognate words are, by dictionary definition, the related words in different languages which come from a common source or which are the result of borrowings cross-linguistically.
False cognate: false cognates are defined as terms that denote word pairs from different languages that, in spite of their formal similarities, may have different meanings