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A comparative study concerning some false friends
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2010 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

I bought blank shoes for the party”, or “You have to wait until the water cooks”. These statements include false friends, which are underlined. Words that look or sound similar in two different languages can in fact have quite different meanings, and thus be a cause of confusion. This study was conducted in Swedish schools with the objective of detecting learners’ command of Swedish–English false friends. The Swedish school system and grades are described in the introduction part. The research aimed at comparing the results of a middle school and a high school in the inner city with those of two corresponding suburb schools.

The research questions were: (i) How well do students in two ninth grade classes and two high school senior classes recognize false friends? (ii) Is there a difference between students at these two levels? This study was conducted with the help of secondary literature on relevant theories regarding false friends. The students answered three questionnaires containing the same set of false friends. Each of the classes was divided into three groups, and each group received just one of these questionnaires. In two of the questionnaires the words were to be translated from English into Swedish, while in the third one the translation was to be made from Swedish into English. The results show poor familiarity with and recognition of some of the false friends tested. The words most of the students knew are very frequent words. There is thus a clear connection between the words the students succeeded in translating or failed to translate and general word frequency. The results also showed that the middle school students were less familiar with false friends than the high school students.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. , 27 p.
National Category
Specific Languages
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-40434OAI: diva2:323905
2010-05-31, F413, Stockholm University, English Department, 11:00 (English)
Humanities, Theology
Available from: 2010-09-09 Created: 2010-06-13 Last updated: 2010-09-09Bibliographically approved

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