Hostname: page-component-7479d7b7d-qs9v7 Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-07-14T23:31:36.189Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

How well are primary and secondary meanings of L2 words acquired?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 May 2024

Beatriz González-Fernández*
Affiliation:
School of English, University of Sheffield, Jessop West, 1 Upper Hanover Street, Sheffield, S3 7RA, UK
Stuart Webb
Affiliation:
Faculty of Education, University of Western Ontario, 1137 Western Road, London, ON, N6G 1G7, Canada
*
Corresponding author: Beatriz González-Fernández; Email: b.gonzalez-fernandez@sheffield.ac.uk

Abstract

Most words in a language have more than one meaning. Yet, few studies have explicitly examined the acquisition of secondary meanings of L2 words and the extent to which polysemy and homonymy affect vocabulary learning. This study explores the effect of polysemy and homonymy on the deliberate acquisition of the form–meaning connections of L2 words. Thirty-six EFL learners (compared with a control group of 30) learned secondary polysemous and homonymous meanings of familiar words and primary meanings of unfamiliar words using flashcards. Knowledge of target words was measured using meaning–recall and meaning–recognition tests immediately after the treatment and again one week later. The findings indicated that learning another meaning for a familiar word was just as difficult as learning the primary meaning of an unfamiliar word, suggesting that the type of meaning (primary, secondary polysemous, or secondary homonymous) might not be an influencing factor in the deliberate acquisition of L2 words.

Type
Research Article
Open Practices
Open materials
Copyright
© The Author(s), 2024. Published by Cambridge University Press

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

Bates, D., Mächler, M., Bolker, B., & Walker, S. (2021). R package lme4 (version 1.1-26) [Computer program].Google Scholar
Baayen, R. H., Piepenbrock, R., & Van Rijn, H. (1993). The CELEX Lexical Database [] Philadelphia, PA: Linguistic Data Consortium, University of Pennsylvania.Google Scholar
Bordag, D., Kirschenbaum, A., Rogahn, M., Opitz, A., & Tschirner, E. (2017). Semantic representation of newly learned L2 words and their integration in the L2 lexicon. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 39(1), 197212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cobb, T. (2023) Compleat Web VP v.2.6 [Computer program]. Accessed 25 November 2023 at https://www.lextutor.ca/vp/comp/.Google Scholar
Crossley, S., Salsbury, T., & McNamara, D. (2010). The development of polysemy and frequency used in English second language speakers. Language Learning, 60(3), 573605.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Elgort, I. (2011). Deliberate learning and vocabulary acquisition in a second language. Language Learning, 61, 367413.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fang, X., & Perfetti, C. A. (2019). Learning new meanings for known words: Perturbation of original meanings and retention of new meanings. Memory & Cognition, 47(1), 130144.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Fang, X., Perfetti, C., & Stafura, J. (2017). Learning new meanings for known words: Biphasic effects of prior knowledge. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 32(5), 637649.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Foraker, S., & Murphy, G. L. (2012). Polysemy in sentence comprehension: Effects of meaning dominance. Journal of Memory and Language, 67(4), 407425.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
González-Fernández, B. (2018). Vocabulary knowledge components: Knowledge, acquisition and conceptualisation [Doctoral dissertation, University of Nottingham].Google Scholar
González-Fernández, B., & Schmitt, N. (2020). Word knowledge: Exploring the relationships and order of acquisition of vocabulary knowledge components. Applied Linguistics, 41(4), 481505.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hoshino, Y., & Shimizu, H. (2018). The organization of the senses of polysemy in Japanese EFL learners’ mental lexicon. Creative Education, 9(03), 353.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hulme, R. C., Barsky, D., & Rodd, J. M. (2019). Incidental learning and long‐term retention of new word meanings from stories: The effect of number of exposures. Language Learning, 69(1), 1843.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kellerman, E. (1986). An eye for an eye: Crosslinguistic constraints on the development of the L2 lexicon. In Kellerman, E. & Smith, M. S. (Eds.), Crosslinguistic influence in second language acquisition (pp. 3548). Oxford: Pergamon Press.Google Scholar
Klein, D. E., & Murphy, G. L. (2001). The representation of polysemous words. Journal of Memory and Language, 45(2), 259282.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Klein, D. E., & Murphy, G. L. (2002). Paper has been my ruin: Conceptual relations of polysemous senses. Journal of Memory and Language, 47(4), 548570.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Klepousniotou, E. (2002). The processing of lexical ambiguity: Homonymy and polysemy in the mental lexicon. Brain and Language, 81(1–3), 205223.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Klepousniotou, E., Pike, G. B., Steinhauer, K., & Gracco, V. (2012). Not all ambiguous words are created equal: An EEG investigation of homonymy and polysemy. Brain and Language, 123(1), 1121.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Klepousniotou, E., Titone, D., & Romero, C. (2008). Making sense of word senses: The comprehension of polysemy depends on sense overlap. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 34(6), 1534.Google ScholarPubMed
Logan, J. K., & Kieffer, M. J. (2021). Investigating the longitudinal and concurrent relationships between polysemous word knowledge and reading comprehension among Spanish-English bilingual middle school students. Reading and Writing, 34(2), 301335.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Maciejewski, G., Rodd, J. M., Mon-Williams, M., & Klepousniotou, E. (2020). The cost of learning new meanings for familiar words. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 35(2), 188210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mouritsen, S. C. (2010). The dictionary is not a fortress: Definitional fallacies and a corpus-based approach to plain meaningBYU L. Rev., 1915.Google Scholar
Nakata, T. (2020). Learning words with flash cards and word cards. In Webb, S. (Ed.), The Routledge handbook of vocabulary studies (pp. 304319). Routledge.Google Scholar
Pellicer-Sánchez, A. (2016). Incidental L2 vocabulary acquisition from and while reading: An eye-tracking study. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 38(1), 97130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Plonsky, L., & Oswald, F. L. (2014). How big is “big”? Interpreting effect sizes in L2 research. Language Learning, 64(4), 878912.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rodd, J. M., Berriman, R., Landau, M., Lee, T., Ho, C., Gaskell, M. G., & Davis, M. H. (2012). Learning new meanings for old words: Effects of semantic relatedness. Memory & Cognition, 40(7), 10951108.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Rodd, J. M., Gaskell, G., & Marslen-Wilson, W. (2002). Making sense of semantic ambiguity: Semantic competition in lexical access. Journal of Memory and Language, 46(2), 245266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Schmitt, N. (1998). Tracking the incremental acquisition of second language vocabulary: A longitudinal study. Language Learning, 48(2), 281317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Stahl, S. A., & Nagy, W. E. (2006). Teaching word meanings. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
Stoeckel, T., Stewart, J., McLean, S., Ishii, T., Kramer, B., & Matsumoto, Y. (2019). The relationship of four variants of the Vocabulary Size Test to a criterion measure of meaning recall vocabulary knowledge. System, 87, 114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Storkel, H. L., & Maekawa, J. (2005). A comparison of homonym and novel word learning: The role of phonotactic probability and word frequency. Journal of Child Language, 32, 827853.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Storkel, H. L., Maekawa, J., & Aschenbrenner, A. J. (2013). The effect of homonymy on learning correctly articulated versus misarticulated words. J Speech Lang Hear Res, 56(2): 694707.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Twilley, L. C., Dixon, P., Taylor, D., & Clark, K. (1994). University of Alberta norms of relative meaning frequency for 566 homographs. Memory & Cognition, 22(1), 111126.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Verspoor, M., & Lowie, W. (2003). Making sense of polysemous words. Language Learning, 53(3), 547586.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Vicente, A. (2018). Polysemy and word meaning: an account of lexical meaning for different kinds of content wordsPhilosophical Studies175(4), 947968.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Webb, S., & Chang, A. C.-S. (2015). Second language vocabulary learning through extensive reading with audio support: How do frequency and distribution of occurrence affect learning? Language Teaching Research, 19(6), 667686.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Webb, S., Sasao, Y., & Ballance, O. (2017). The updated Vocabulary Levels Test. ITL-International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 168(1), 3369.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wilks, C. (2009). Tangled Webs … Complications in the Exploration of L2 Lexical Networks. In Fitzpatrick, T. & Barfield, A. (Eds.), Lexical processing in second language learners (pp. 2537). Multilingual Matters.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wolter, B. (2009). Meaning-last vocabulary acquisition and collocational productivity. In Fitzpatrick, T. & Barfield, A. (Eds.), Lexical processing in second language learners: Papers and perspectives in honour of Paul Meara (pp. 111127). Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
Zhang, X. (2013). The I don’t know option in the vocabulary size test. TESOL Quarterly, 47(4), 790811.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Supplementary material: File

González-Fernández and Webb supplementary material 1

González-Fernández and Webb supplementary material
Download González-Fernández and Webb supplementary material 1(File)
File 35 KB
Supplementary material: File

González-Fernández and Webb supplementary material 2

González-Fernández and Webb supplementary material
Download González-Fernández and Webb supplementary material 2(File)
File 78.3 KB
Supplementary material: File

González-Fernández and Webb supplementary material 3

González-Fernández and Webb supplementary material
Download González-Fernández and Webb supplementary material 3(File)
File 42.8 KB