Semantic Transfer Hypothesis

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Semantic transfer hypothesis

According to the semantic transfer hypothesis, the semantic content residing in L2 word is transferred from their L1 translations. A clear understanding of the process is required for any attempt to develop a theory of vocabulary acquisition. One of the issues that has received the most attention is how the two languages of bilingual speaker are connected to each other and to conceptual representations. It is often assumed that L2 learners acquire new meanings while learning new words. The semantic transfer claim postulates that L2 words are mapped to existing meanings or concepts when such meanings are available and that the transition from mapping to existing meanings to mapping to new concepts may not occur for a majority of words, and as a result, L1 lemma mediation often becomes the steady state of lexical performance in advanced learners. To prove his model which is based on semantic transfer hypothesis he create an experiment.

Aims of Experiment
* Extend Mr. Jiang findings from Chinese-English bilinguals experiment to another ESL group, Korean-English bilinguals. It was important because the same-translation effect, an interesting phenomenon needed to be replicated * Provide confirmation for the same-translation effect.

* Explore the pedagogical implications of the findings.

Method
* Two groups of participants (all from Auburn University) * English native speakers – 15 people
* Korean-English bilinguals – 5 females and 10 males * Participants were presented with a list of random English pairs that were related (same-translation set) or unrelated in meaning (different-translation set). NOTE: DT set included English word pairs whose two members were also related in meaning but had to different translations. * Participants had to decide whether the two words shared the same translation in Korean language (Button YES) or not (Button NO) * The response time was measured by the...
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