The Impact of Metalinguistic English Vocabulary Knowledge and Lexical Inferencing on EFL Learners’ Lexical Knowledge Considering the Cross-Linguistic Issue of L1 Lexicalization

Document Type: Research Paper


1 Department of Persian Literature and Foreign Languages, Roudehen Branch, Islamic Azad University, Roudehen, Iran

2 Zand Institue of Higher Education, Shiraz, Iran


The present study endeavors to unravel the enigma of the psycholinguistic mechanisms underpinning bilingual mental lexicon by analyzing the issue of L1 lexicalization as a construct epitomizing an overarching framework. It involves 78 juniors at the Islamic Azad University, Roudehen Branch. The study inspects the impact of the interventionist/noninterventionist treatments on both sets of lexicalized and nonlexicalized items pedagogically. It further tries to bring the bilingual mental lexicon under scrutiny by investigating the cross-linguistic issue of L1 lexicalization psycholinguistically. The results, obtained through the independent t-test, indicate a significant difference between the two groups dealing with both sets of items. The paired t-test shows that the learners had a greater degree of familiarity with lexicalized items at pretesting, and they were more successful in learning lexicalized items at posttesting. However, no significant difference was found in gain scores in the two groups. The descriptive analyses indicate that the number of lexicalized words produced productively was approximately two times as many as the number of nonlexicalized items at the same level in the interventionist group. Moreover, the number of nonlexicalized items learned partially was much greater in comparison with their lexicalized counterparts. The results have implications for EFL methodologists and theoreticians.


Aronoff, M., & Fudeman, K. (2005). What is morphology? Blackwell Publication.

Augustin Liach, P, M. (2011). Lexical errors and accuracy in foreign language writing. British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data.

Bellomo, S. T. (2009). Morphological analysis as a vocabulary strategy for L1 and L2 college preparatory students. TESL-EJ, 13 (3).

Blum, S., & Levenston, E. (1979). Lexical simplification in second language acquisition.  Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 2, 85-94.

Chacon-Beltran, R., Abello-Contesse, C., Torreblanca-Lopez, M. (2010). Insights into non-native vocabulary teaching and learning. Typeset by Techset Composition,  LTd., Salisbury, UK.

Chen, C., & Truscott, J. (2010). The effects of repetition and L1 lexicalization on incidental vocabulary acquisition. Applied Linguistics, 31 (5), 693-713.

Chikamatsu, N. (1996). The effects of L1 orthography on L2 word recognition: A study of American and Chinese learners of Japanese. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 18, 403-432.

French, M. R. & Jacquet, M. (2004). Understanding bilingual memory: Models and data. Trends  in Cognitive Sciences, 8 (2), 87-93.

Gaskell, G. M., & Ellis, W. A. (2009). Word learning and lexical development across the life span. The Journal of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 364, 3607-3615.

Ghahremani-Ghajar, S., & Masny, D. (1999). Making sense in second orthography. International Review of Applied Linguistics, 125 & 126, 99-120.

Golaghaei, N. & Sadighi, F. (2013). L1 Glossing and lexical inferencing: Evaluation of  the overarching issue of L1 lexicalization. The Journal of Teaching Language Skills (JTLS), 4 (4), 1-24.

Hanson, V. (1993). Productive use of derivational morphology by deaf college students. Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society, 31, 63-65.

Jiang, N. (2000). Lexical representation and development in a second language. Applied  Linguistics, 21, 47-77.

Jiang, N. (2004). Semantic transfer and its implications for vocabulary teaching in a second language. The Modern Language Journal, 88, 416-432. 

Kuo, L. J., & Anderson, R. C. (2006). Morphological awareness and learning to read: A cross-language perspective. Educational Psychologist, 41, 161-180.

Meara, P. (1997). Toward a new approach to modeling vocabulary acquisition. In N. Schmitt & M. Mc-Carthy (Eds.). Vocabulary: Description, acquisition and pedagogy (pp.  109–121). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Morin, R. (2006). Building depth of Spanish L2 vocabulary by building and using word  families. Applied Linguistics, 89 (1), 170-182.

Nagy, W., & Anderson, R. (1984). How many words are there in printed school English? Reading Research Quarterly, 19, 304-330.       

Nagy, W. E., McClure, E. F., & Mir, M. (1997). Linguistic transfer and the use of context By Spanish-English bilinguals. Applied Psycholinguistics, 18, 431-452.

Paribakht, T., & Wesche, M. (1993a). The relationship between reading comprehension and second language development in a comprehension based ESL program. TESL Canada Journal, 11, 9-29.

Paribakht, S. T. (2005). The influence of first language lexicalization on second language lexical inferencing: A study of Persian-speaking learners of English as a foreign language. Language Learning, 55(4), 701-748. 

Raymond, B., Matti, L., & Maria, V. K. (2000). The role of derivational morphology in  vocabulary acquisition: get by with little help from my morpheme friends.  Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 41 (4), 287-296.

Rispens, E. J., McBride-Chang, C., Reitsma, P. (2007). Morphological awareness and early and advanced word recognition and spelling in Dutch. Springer, 21, 587-607.

Sandra, D. (1994). The morphology of the mental lexicon: Internal word structure viewed from a psycholinguistic perspective. Language and Cognitive Processes, 9, 227-269.

Schmidt, R. (2010). Attention, awareness, and individual differences in language learning.  In W. M. Chan, S. Chi, K. N. Cin, J. Istanto, M. Nagami, J.W. Sew, T.  Suthiwan, & I. Walker (Ed.). Proceedings of CLa SIC 2010, Singapore, December 2-4 (pp. 721- 737). Singapore: National University of Singapore, Centre for Language Studies.

  Schmitt, N., Schmitt, D., & Clapham, C. (2001). Developing and exploring the behavior of two new versions of the vocabulary levels test. Language Testing, 18 (1), 55-58.

Schmitt, N. (2010). Researching vocabulary. A vocabulary research manual. Palgrave  Macmillan Publication.

Schwartz, I. A., Yeh, L., & Shaw, P. M. (2008).  Lexical representations of second  language words: Implications for second language vocabulary acquisition and use. The Mental Lexicon, 3 (3), 309-324.

Shaw, M. E. (2011). Teaching vocabulary through data-driven learning. Copyright C. Brigham Young University.

Stoller, F., & Grabe, W. (1993). Implications for L2 vocabulary acquisition and instruction from L1 vocabulary research. In T. Huckin, M. Haynes, & J. Coady (Eds.). Second language reading and vocabulary learning (pp. 24-45). Norwood, NJ:  Albex.

Stringer, D. (2008). What else transfers? In R. Slabakova et al. (Ed.). Proceedings of the 9th   Generative Approaches to Second Language Acquisition Conference, GASLA (pp. 233-241). Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project.

Wade-woolley, L. (1999). First language influences on second language word learning: All  roads lead to Rome. Language Learning, 49(3), 447-471.

Wesche, M., & Paribakht, T. S. (1996). Assessing second language vocabulary  Knowledge: depth versus breadth.  The Canadian Modern Language Review/La Revue Canadienne des Langues Vivantes,53, 13-40.

Wesche, M., & Paribakht, T. S. (2010). Lexical inferencing in a first or second language: Cross-linguistic dimensions. British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data.

White, T.G., Power, M.A., White, S. (1989). Morphological analysis: Implications for teaching and understanding vocabulary growth. Reading Research Quarterly, 24, 283-304.

Wysocki, K. & Jenkins, J. R. (1987). Deriving word meanings through morphological generalization. Reading Research Quarterly, 22, 66-81.