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False cognates: The effect of mismatch in morphological complexity on a backward lexical translation task

Janke, Vikki, Kolokonte, Marina (2015) False cognates: The effect of mismatch in morphological complexity on a backward lexical translation task. Second Language Research, 31 (2). pp. 137-156. ISSN 0267-6583. E-ISSN 1477-0326. (doi:10.1177/0267658314545836) (KAR id:42763)


In this article we focus on ‘false cognates’, lexical items that have overlapping orthographic/phonological properties but little or no semantic overlap. False-cognate pairs were created from French (second language or L2) and English (first language or L1) items by manipulating the levels of morphological correspondence between them. Our aim was to test whether mismatches in morphological structure affected success on a low-frequency backward lexical translation task. Fifty-eight participants, divided into four groups (A-level; degree level; adult learners; bilinguals) were tested on monomorphemic items (simplex), polymorphemic items (complex), items whose morphological structure in French exceeded that of their English counterpart (mismatch), and control items. Translation success rate followed a uniform pattern: control > mismatch > simplex > complex. With respect to the false-friend effect, participant responses were also uniform: complex > simplex > mismatch. It is argued that an independent level of morphology explains these results.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1177/0267658314545836
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Culture and Languages
Depositing User: Vikki Janke
Date Deposited: 29 Aug 2014 11:53 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2022 03:20 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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Janke, Vikki.

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Kolokonte, Marina.

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