Volume 71, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0169-7420
  • E-ISSN: 2213-4883
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According to the distinctiveness hypothesis, words are best learned together if they are distinct; otherwise, cross-association may occur, i.e., words are confused. This means that clustering words thematically in instructed second-language acquisition is potentially disadvantageous for the speed with which the meaning is acquired. In this article, recent research is reviewed that supports the distinctiveness hypothesis. An experiment is presented in which first-year university students of Spanish learned 24 verbs, eight of which were semantically related (e.g., instar-'insist' on and preconizar-'argue'), eight were related in form (e.g., disponerse-'prepare oneself' and superponerse-'overlap'), and eight were unrelated (e.g., aplacar-'soothe' and acoger-'welcome'). The results support both hypotheses for the semantically related words, but not for the orthographically related words.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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