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Wie viele Wörter bekommt man beim Deutschlernen „geschenkt“?: Der Kognatenstatus der häufigsten deutschen Wörter aus Sicht schwedischer LernerInnen auf Universitätsebene
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Baltic Languages, Finnish and German, German.
2013 (German)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This study explores a methodology to measure the receptive cognate status of a second language (L2) vocabulary from a specific learner group’s perspective. In order to isolate the interlingual cognate effect (being able to grasp the meaning of a L2 word in context thanks to the similarity to an etymologically related word in L1 or another known L2) from the intralingual transparency effect (interpret a complex word thanks to its components), the 1406 content words consisting of one lexical morpheme only and being the most frequent in its word family were selected from a frequency list of 4034 words. Each German word was categorized according to its formal similarity to its closest Swedish cognate. 25 percent have even identical graphical form, further 30 percent are phonologically predictable. Only 6 percent lack a relevant cognate. A semantic analysis shows that the Swedish cognate is also the translation equivalent for 90 percent of the direct cognates, and very few of the others have a potentially deceptive meaning. 77 students at a beginners’ course at Stockholm University answered an open-ended vocabulary test based on these words, as isolated items and in context sentences translated into Swedish. The correct answers suggest that Swedish students have a 70 percent head-start in learning German core words receptively. The erroneous answers confirm that the learners look for similarities to L1 Swedish words, and in much higher degree than assumed from the psychotypological distance, to L2 English words. Some pedagogical implications of exploiting the full cognate effect are discussed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. , 59 p.
National Category
Specific Languages
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-91818OAI: diva2:635558
2013-05-31, 15:05 (German)
Available from: 2013-07-09 Created: 2013-07-04 Last updated: 2013-07-09Bibliographically approved

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