Intermediate Level Learners’ Vocabulary Guessing and Recognizing through Sound Symbolism

Mohammad Zohrabi, Hossein Sabouri, Saeid Peimanfar

Abstract


Research into vocabulary acquisition indicates that there are several contributors to word learning. However, the question of phonology’s place in word learning has been virtually ignored. Sound symbolism is the idea that the relationship between phonology and semantics is not always arbitrary and that for some words present in today’s languages there is correspondence between sound and meaning. The impetus behind the present study was to investigate whether sound symbolism as a possible route leads to increased word learning. The study compared the guesses that 90 intermediate level Turkish learners of EFL made regarding the potential meanings of sound symbolic and non-sound symbolic words both in the presence and absence of context. Independent sample t-tests were calculated to analyze the participants’ guesses of the word meaning. The results revealed that the participants were able to guess the meanings of sound symbolic words significantly better than the meanings of non-sound symbolic words. The analysis of independent sample t-test substantiated that both sound symbolism as a word level property and context are significantly effective for word learning. As the results revealed, when sound symbolic words were embedded in their relevant written context, the participants’ guesses were the highest. That is, the interactive efficacy of sound symbolism plus context was significantly higher than the efficacy of either of them. Hence, EFL teacher may raise the learners’ awareness to sound symbolism as a potential means in restricting and interpreting the meaning of unknown words.

 


Keywords


Sound symbolism, word learning

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.3n.6p.42

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