Problems encountered by Libyan learners of English, with special reference to the lexicon
One of the most important aspects of learning a second language is acquiring communicative competence on the lexical level. This study deals with the problems and processes of acquiring such a competence. In the theoretical sections we discuss the linguistic, sociolinguistic and psycholinguistic aspects of second language lexical acquisition. The discussion of the linguistic aspects centres on various approaches to the study of lexical meaning. The relevance of such approaches lies in their value for making descriptive linguistic statements about the learner's language. The importance of sociolinguistic phenomena for L2 lexical acquisition derives from the fact that different contexts of situation influence the selection of lexical items. The section on psycholinguistics examines differences between acquiring the lexical structure of one's mother tongue and learning that of a second language. This section also deals with the important relationship between language and thought on the one hand and language and culture on the other. The pedagogical implications of all these phenomena are considered with specific reference to the learning of the lexical items of a second language. The practical section of the study, using techniques developed in modern applied linguistics, deals with lexical errors made by intermediate-advanced Arab learners of English. We investigate the extent to which these errors can be related to the strategies adopted by the learners in their attempt to encode messages in spontaneous written production and also look at other factors which need to be taken into consideration in accounting for these errors. A detailed taxonomy of the strategies the learners use for expressing meaning lS proposed. Each strategy or one of its subcategories is exemplified by samples from the learners' performance. The qualitative analysis of the samples includes linguistic and psycholinguistic descriptions. In the final chapter we consider the psychological significance of the learners' errors and strategies. A brief summary of the communicative effects of the learners' strategies is also included in this chapter. In the light of our findings regarding the learners' lexical errors and the strategies inferred from these errors, an attempt is made to examine the implications for L2 pedagogy.