The Effects of Pictures on Learning Vocabulary

Pages: 9 (2674 words) Published: December 31, 2012
The Effects of Pictures on Learning Vocabulary
Hossein Maskani
Hakim Sabzevari University

This research explored the effects of pictures on learning new vocabularies. Learning vocabulary is one of the most important components of any languages and we attempted to represent a way to learn new words more effectively and easily. This study compared the learning words through pictures and paired with translated equivalents. Our experiment on learning and recalling English words shows that there are differences between learning words through pictures and translated equivalents. The subjects recalled the words through pictures easily and faster than words paired with printed translations and they recalled the words by mental image had in their minds. Generally pictures facilitate learning foreign vocabularies and subjects are overconfident in the power of pictures to help them learn new words. Base on the experiment which applied to some learners and it will explain at the end of article, we can compare this two learning method and to answer to many questions you had in your minds.

The Effects of Pictures on Learning Vocabulary
"If language structure make up the skeleton of language, then it is vocabulary that provides the vital organs and the flesh." (Hamer, 1995, p. 153). Vocabulary teaching is one of the most important components of any language class. The predominant reason for this is that teaching vocabulary is a means that convey meaning (Joklova, 2009). Recently teaching methods focused on vocabulary because of "the development of new approaches to language teaching, which are much more 'word-centred'." ( Thornbury, 2004, p. 6).

Thornbury (2004) listed several techniques to follow to make vocabulary teaching more effective, including: repetition, personalizing, motivation, and visualizing pictures for new words. He explained that to visualize a picture for a new word is to link an abstract word with some mental image.

Teaching vocabulary paired with pictures was first applied to Direct Method and it made learning more effectively by using pictures, real objects (realia), and mime. Hill (1990, p. 1) stated that pictures bring "…images of reality into unnatural world of language classroom". Pictures can be used as a fun element in the class to increase the sense of overconfident in the subjects. In accordance to Wright (1990), pictures could be used in different language areas including: teaching structure, functions, situations, and for all other skills as well as vocabulary area, but this study elaborated on learning vocabulary through pictures and their effects on memorizing and recalling new words. This research attempted to explain some theoretical and practical way for improving learning vocabulary through pictures. It is worthy to mention that based on Mccarthy (1992), pictures beside their effectiveness have some limitation, too. They are not appropriate and sufficient to be equivalent to all words' meaning. Some abstract words such as "opinion" and "impact" do not have any pictorial equivalent (Thornbury, 2004). Only concrete words have pictorial equivalent that including approximately half of the language vocabularies. Theoretical View Point

Based on some researches the named pictures are memorized easily than verbal labels and also the time for recalling the names of pictures is faster than verbal labels (see e.g., Paivio & Csapo, 1973; Paivio, Rogers, & Smythe, 1968). This phenomenon has been called "The picture superiority effect". This effect was based on Paivio's (1971, 1976) dual-coding theory.

Paivio's dual-coding theory offers the most comprehension accounts of the relation between imagery and verbal processes. This theory stated that cognition consists of two separate systems; however, they are interconnected and interacting mental systems: a verbal system for language and a non-verbal system for imagery (Cohen, 2009). "These two systems are only partially connected...
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