University Student Knowledge of Loanwords Versus Non-loanwords

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Raymond Stubbe, Shintaro Hoke, Kyushu Sangyo University; Chris O’Sullivan, Kitakyushu University


Students (N = 408) from 3 Japanese universities took 2 vocabulary tests of their receptive and productive knowledge of English loanwords versus nonloanwords. Six loanwords (LWs) and 6 nonloanwords (NLWs) from each of the 8 JACET8000 levels were tested in a passive recognition yes-no test followed by an passive recall translation (English to Japanese) test of the same 96 items. Overall, students showed knowledge of 57% more LWs than NLWs on the yes-no test, but knew 195% more on the translation test. The differences between LW and NLW results decreased as English ability levels increased. LWs were better known than NLWs at every frequency level on the translation test and recognized more often on all but 2 of the higher frequency levels on the yes-no test. These results have implications for vocabulary teachers and testers, in terms of the differences in the learning difficulty of LWs versus NLWs, as well as the risks these differences pose for vocabulary assessment.

日本国内の3大学に通う大学生(408人)を対象に、英語における借用語と非借用語の受容的・生産的理解に関する2つの語彙テストを実施した。JACET8000における8つの頻度レベルそれぞれから借用語6語と非借用語6語の計96語を選び、受動型のYes / No認識テストと、英語を日本語に直す能動型の生産的翻訳テストを実施した。その結果、被験者はYes / Noテストにおいて借用語の得点が非借用語よりも57%高く、翻訳テストでは195%も高かった。また、英語能力レベルが低い大学の被験者ほど借用語と非 借用語の得点差が大きかった。テスト別に見ても、翻訳テストでは、被験者は全ての頻度レベルで非借用語よりも借用語を多く理解し、Yes / Noテストでも、被験者は2つの高頻度レベルを除き、非借用語よりも借用語を多く認識した。これらの結果は語彙を教える教師やテスト作成者への示唆となろう。