The Role of Associations in Vocabulary Acquisition: A Psycholinguistic Study on Indian ESL Learners
Keywords:vocabulary acquisition, psycholinguistics, mental lexicon, associations, semantic networks.
Learning English as a second language is an area of study which demands persistent research, probing and application of the findings. In India, English language is a part of everyday life, and the exposure to English vocabulary comes through a multitude of sources which include media, game applications and social networking among others. In many instances, even complicated and less frequent words are made familiar by these sources. However, the learners of ESL struggle for a good choice of words when they are in a situation to use the language. This has led the researcher to question how the process of vocabulary acquisition happens and how the acquired words are organised and stored. The current research is a psycholinguistic analysis of the way words are organised and associated with each other in the mental lexicon of the learners. The researcher attempts to study the role and impact of associations in vocabulary acquisition through an experimental study. The participants of the study are 120 Indian ESL learners enrolled for an undergraduate programme. They were tested with two methods of teaching vocabulary, namely the word definition method and semantic cluster method. The outcome of the study is discussed in the research paper.
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V. Kavitha, Padmasani Kannan