The Acquisition of Classical Origin Words by Chinese, French, and Finnish Learners

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This comparative study evaluates the vocabulary knowledge of comparable groups of English learners from three L1 backgrounds: French, Finnish, and
Mandarin Chinese. An investigation of differences in vocabulary knowledge
revealed that vocabulary of Greek or Latin origin is much more likely to be
known by French speaking students than words of non Graeco-Latin origin.
Finnish students did much better on words of non Graeco-Latin origin, although
they still outperformed the French speakers on Graeco-Latin words. The
performance of the native Chinese speakers was the worst of the three groups,
and there was no significant difference with this group between the two sets of
words. The findings have clear implications for the teaching of academic
English vocabulary in EAP settings where students share an L1. In mixed L1
settings, instructors may need to take account of variation in vocabulary
knowledge among different L1 student groups.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)122-134
JournalLanguage Education in Asia
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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