Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Teaching polysemous words to Arab learners : a cognitive linguistics approach
Author: Makni, Fawzi
ISNI:       0000 0004 2742 863X
Awarding Body: University of the West of England, Bristol
Current Institution: University of the West of England, Bristol
Date of Award: 2013
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
The purpose of this study is to compare the pedagogic efficiency of two methods for teaching polysemous vocabulary – the image-schema-based vocabulary instruction method (ISBM) and the translation-based vocabulary instruction method (TBM). While ISBM is inspired by cognitive linguistics, and represents a new trend in teaching polysemous vocabulary, TBM embodies a traditional and well established way of teaching polysemous vocabulary in EFL contexts. Additionally, this study aims to evaluate the way in which three learner characteristics - learning styles, vocabulary learning strategies, language proficiency - contribute to individual differences in acquiring polysemous words. The subjects of this study, 40 female students studying at an intensive English program at the University of Sharjah, UAE, were placed in two groups and were taught a range of metaphorical meanings of polysemous words, in accordance with the cognitive linguistics ISBM and the mainstream TBM. In order to assess the pedagogical value of both methods, a polysemous word knowledge test (PWKT) was used as a pre and post-test. Also, a strategy assessment test (SAT) was employed to gauge the effectiveness of the strategic teaching method in accordance with which the polysemous words were instructed. Furthermore, in an attempt to explore the nature of the relationships between some of the learner characteristics and the acquisition of polysemous vocabulary, a vocabulary learning questionnaire and a style of processing scale were given to the learners. The results of the immediate post PWKT suggest that the ISBM is more effective in teaching and learning polysemous vocabulary in this setting than the TBM. In the long term, however, both of the techniques adopted in teaching polysemous words proved beneficial in long-term recall. Also, teaching polysemous vocabulary strategically – showing learners how to work out the metaphorical meanings of some polysemous words through their literal meanings - paid off in that learners were more readily able to understand metaphorical senses of new polysemous words they encountered i in the SAT. Altogether, three variables seem to come into play when dealing with the acquisition of polysemous words in the framework of cognitive linguistics - learning styles, vocabulary learning strategies, language proficiency. In light of these findings, I give a number of recommendations to teachers, material developers and lexicographers. As far as the contribution to field of vocabulary acquisition is concerned, this study attempts to shed light on the teaching of polysemous words in an Arab context (a so far unmapped territory). In that, it tries to show how polysemous words have been treated in the English syllabuses directed to UAE learners, to equip English teachers with feasible ways to teach polysemous words more efficiently, and thereby to improve the learners’ ability to comprehend some new concepts more easily. Finally, this study addresses some of the pitfalls of previous studies on teaching polysemous words within the framework of cognitive linguistics.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: cognitive linguistics ; image schema ; polysemous words ; transfer ; vocabulary teaching