Perceived lexical similarities between L2 Italian and L3 English in the reading comprehension of Croatian-Italian bilingual EFL learners

Bradičić, Ana (2011) Perceived lexical similarities between L2 Italian and L3 English in the reading comprehension of Croatian-Italian bilingual EFL learners. In: 1st International Conference on Foreign Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics (FLTAL’11), 5-7 May 2011, Sarajevo.

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Abstract

Recent studies investigating transfer in language acquisition have shown that not only the knowledge of a first language, but also all other languages known to a person may facilitate the acquisition of a new language. This is also the case with languages belonging to different language families such as English and Italian, which, nonetheless, have many conspicuous lexical similarities. Whereas studies have concentrated on language production and error analysis, it is necessary to acknowledge the importance of investigating third language comprehension as well. The present study examines the perception of lexical similarities in written text comprehension by Croatian-Italian bilinguals who are at two distinct levels of English proficiency. A form involving similarity judgments for lexical items varying in the degree of formal and semantic similarity has been designed drawing on real language use as provided by corpora. The results obtained are compared to objective formal similarity as provided by a string matching algorithm, the normalized Levenshtein distance. Results suggest that the ratings of lexical similarity perceived by the learners are related to formal and semantic word similarity. They also indicate that in the case of semantically similar words older students rely more on previously acquired lexical knowledge, whereas younger learners tend to give more uniform ratings relying more on formal similarity. We suggest that an explicit approach to raising the learners‘ awareness of language similarity and to promoting transfer as a learning strategy would improve the third language learning process and its outcome

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Lexicon, crosslinguistic influence, similarity perception
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Depositing User: Users 3 not found.
Date Deposited: 07 Feb 2012 13:47
Last Modified: 02 Mar 2012 13:44
URI: http://eprints.ibu.edu.ba/id/eprint/25

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