First Advisor

Kimberley Brown

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages


Teaching English as a Second Language




Language transfer (Language learning), English language -- Errors of usage, English language -- Study and teaching -- Japanese speakers



Physical Description

1 online resource (viii, 87 p.)


The present study replicates research by Tomoko Takahashi (1984) on lexico-semantic patterns used by students in an acquisition poor environment. The purpose of the current study was to determine how an acquisition rich environment affects learners' use of four lexico-semantic patterns: congruence occurs when the Ll definition of a lexical item forms a one-to-one correspondence with the L2 lexical item; convergence occurs when the Ll lexical item has broader applications than the L2 lexical item; divergence occurs when the L2 lexical item has broader applications than the Ll lexical item; and semantic gap occurs when the Ll lexical item has no appropriate corresponding L2 lexical item (Takahashi, 1984). The instrument, a lexico-semantics test, is the same instrument used in Takahashi's study. It was designed to measure which patterns are most frequently used by Japanese EFL students learning English. The results, unlike Takahashi's, suggest that beginning and advanced ESL students use the four patterns equally well. No significant difference was found between the two groups. These results are contrary to what had been expected. However, they show that the proposed hierarchical order of difficulty of congruence, convergence, divergence and semantic gap is the same in both studies. The results also indicate that the acquisition· rich environment seems to dramatically improve beginners' performance of the four patterns. Since the instrument was designed for EFL students (an acquisition poor environment) it may not have fully challenged the advanced ESL students (an acquisition rich environment) while challenging the beginning students. This may have been due to the fact that the students in the present study received a great deal of input from the acquisition rich environment, which could account for their increased ability to restructure hypotheses about L2 vocabulary items. In conclusion, more studies are needed to determine the complete role of the four lexico-semantic patterns in vocabulary acquisition. An expanded follow up study that fully tests the advanced and beginning ESL learners' ability could determine whether both groups progress along a language continuum with respect to the use of the four lexico-semantic patterns. Furthermore, although the patterns may serve, in a limited capacity, as indicators of a learner's difficulties in vocabulary acquisition, a wider body of research is needed before they can be applied in a language learning environment.


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