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English Detective # 54— Cognates: Language in Common, 8-4-15
August 04, 2015
Getting the whole story
The April 2015 IDRA Newletter has a summary of cognate research.
They note that Jiménez & Gámez (1996) found that just using cognates is not enough, “Direct instruction is required” to show students how to make connections.
Colorin Colorado also discusses research on teaching language learners how to use cognates and to recognize the possibility of multiple, sometimes different, meanings.
They suggest having students record cognates they find as they read, then share them and discuss differences in spelling and sound with the related words in their first language. (Students can point out spelling differences for the teacher to circle as s/he makes a class list of the cognates found.)
They also emphasize the importance of teaching about false cognates: ”words that look alike but do not have the same meaning in English and Spanish.”
Cognate Practice on EnglishHints
Here's a cognate practice page.
If you would like more practice and lesson suggestions, see the new EnglishHints Spanish-English Cognates pdf. There are versions both for self-study ("Learn...") and for classroom use ("Teach...")
It has a number of useful ways for English learners to practice with cognates.
I would love to get some feedback on it.
If you are interested in it, and willing to send me a brief evaluation (whether positive feedback, criticism, or suggestions, along with a note about your class size and level and possibly how you intend to use it) “reply” to this email.
I will send a free copy to the first five subscribers who respond and will reduce its price for any others who respond before Thursday.
You might also be interested in:
Lost in Translation ” We don’t shape language, language shapes us.”
Lera Boroditsky studies the differences in the ways languages express actions and intentions. She points out that in English (unlike Spanish or Japanese) “if I knock this cup off the table, even accidentally, you would likely say, ‘She broke the cup.’”
She has found that in languages like English, which emphasize the person responsible for an action, whether deliberately or accidentally, the speaker is more likely to remember who did it.
“She is amassing a body of intriguing and creative evidence that language influences how its speakers focus their attention, remember events and people, and think about the world around them.”
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