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Open AccessArticle

Better to Be Alone than in Bad Company: Cognate Synonyms Impair Word Learning

1
Humanitate eta Hezkuntza Zientzien Fakultatea, Mondragon Unibertsitatea, 20500 Arrasate/Mondragón, Spain
2
Centro de Ciencia Cognitiva (C3), Universidad Nebrija, 28015 Madrid, Spain
3
Department of Languages and Culture, The Arctic University of Norway, 9019 Tromsø, Norway
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Behav. Sci. 2020, 10(8), 123; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs10080123
Received: 3 July 2020 / Revised: 20 July 2020 / Accepted: 27 July 2020 / Published: 29 July 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Cognition)
The effects of cognate synonymy in L2 word learning are explored. Participants learned the names of well-known concrete concepts in a new fictional language following a picture-word association paradigm. Half of the concepts (set A) had two possible translations in the new language (i.e., both words were synonyms): one was a cognate in participants’ L1 and the other one was not. The other half of the concepts (set B) had only one possible translation in the new language, a non-cognate word. After learning the new words, participants’ memory was tested in a picture-word matching task and a translation recognition task. In line with previous findings, our results clearly indicate that cognates are much easier to learn, as we found that the cognate translation was remembered much better than both its non-cognate synonym and the non-cognate from set B. Our results also seem to suggest that non-cognates without cognate synonyms (set B) are better learned than non-cognates with cognate synonyms (set A). This suggests that, at early stages of L2 acquisition, learning a cognate would produce a poorer acquisition of its non-cognate synonym, as compared to a solely learned non-cognate. These results are discussed in the light of different theories and models of bilingual mental lexicon. View Full-Text
Keywords: second language learning; word learning; cognate effect; synonymy; picture word association second language learning; word learning; cognate effect; synonymy; picture word association
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MDPI and ACS Style

Antón, E.; Duñabeitia, J.A. Better to Be Alone than in Bad Company: Cognate Synonyms Impair Word Learning. Behav. Sci. 2020, 10, 123. https://doi.org/10.3390/bs10080123

AMA Style

Antón E, Duñabeitia JA. Better to Be Alone than in Bad Company: Cognate Synonyms Impair Word Learning. Behavioral Sciences. 2020; 10(8):123. https://doi.org/10.3390/bs10080123

Chicago/Turabian Style

Antón, Eneko; Duñabeitia, Jon A. 2020. "Better to Be Alone than in Bad Company: Cognate Synonyms Impair Word Learning" Behav. Sci. 10, no. 8: 123. https://doi.org/10.3390/bs10080123

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