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Iranian Students‟ Recognition of Derived Nouns: Do Students Deal with Words as Entire Units Directly or through a Process of Word Building Strategy?

Author(s): Mitra Amiri | Akbar Hesabi | Abbass Eslami Rasekh

Journal: Journal of Language Teaching and Research
ISSN 1798-4769

Volume: 2;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 605;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: word-building strategy | word recognition | derived words

The study presented in this article deals with the use of word-building strategy, one which helps EFL students' skill of word recognition. There are two observable strategies which are usually employed in working out the meaning of unknown words: The direct method refers to students' general attempt to learn vocabulary items without any conscious attention to the internal structure of the word. The second which is a word building process relies on the ability to work out the meaning of the item by analyzing the constituent parts of the word. The effect of each strategy could by subject to controversy. Is it the word building processes which might be used as a major strategy or is it dealing with words as entire units without attending to the parts? Thirty under-graduate students majoring in TEFL at Islamic Azad University, Najafabad Branch, participated in a task involving them in finding translation equivalents of lexical items presented to them in two translation tasks which required them to give the Persian (L1) translations for English words (L2). The words given to them in the tow tasks included both stem words as well as derived words. An Interview was run to get information about how the participants recognized the meaning of the words which were given to them to translate. The results of our comparison of the data showed that few students out of the entire population seemed to have and employ word-building knowledge. The majority did not use word-building knowledge in recognizing derived words; they favored an approach which involved attention to the whole unit. Students’ word recognition was the found to be the consequence of frequency of exposure rather than knowledge of parts. Explanations are introduced for why EFL participants prefer to expand their vocabulary knowledge without much relying on derivations information available to them.
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