L1-based prototypicality effects in L2 vocabulary learning

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One issue in multilingual cognition is whether there is a unitary or two conceptual systems that map onto different languages. This chapter addresses this issue by exploring whether and how prototypicality effects manifest in L2 vocabulary learning. In our two-step study we first used free sense-listing and prototypicality-rating tasks to locate cultural variations in prototypicality of the senses of 17 polysemous words between Chinese and English. Then we carried out a no-cue-English-word-learning-and-immediate-cued-recall task to examine whether Chinese participants would recall better and faster newly-learned English word senses that are prototypical in Chinese but not in English. The existence of L1-based prototypicality effects in L2 vocabulary learning are confirmed, providing support for the unitary conceptual model in L2 learning.


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