Cognate Vocabulary in Language Acquisition and Use Attitudes, Awareness, Activation Author: Agnieszka Otwinowska

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09 Oct 2015
Second Language Acquisition
Multilingual Matters
234 x 156


This book brings together linguistic, psycholinguistic and educational perspectives on the phenomenon of cognate vocabulary across languages. It presents a large-scale, long-term research project focusing on Polish-English cognates and their use by bilingual and multilingual learners/users of English. It discusses extensive qualitative and quantitative data to explain which factors affect a learner’s awareness of cognates, how adult learners can benefit from raised awareness and whether cognate vocabulary can be used with younger learners as a motivational strategy. The work shows how cognate vocabulary can be examined from a range of methodological perspectives and provides considerable insights into crosslinguistic influences in language learning. While the focus of the studies is Polish-English cognates, the research will be of interest to anyone teaching learners of different language constellations, levels, ages and backgrounds.


This is a welcome addition to the literature on cognate vocabulary across languages. While its emphasis is on Polish-English cognates, the volume will equally appeal to teachers and researchers interested in the topic. The chapters offer an up-to-date review of the literature on crosslinguistic influence and an unambiguous distinction between bilingual and multilingual behaviour. This is an excellent volume that will be read widely.

- Gessica De Angelis, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

Thoroughly researched and elegantly written, this book offers a much-needed introduction to the role of cognates in SLA, a comprehensive and up-to-date synthesis of research on crosslinguistic similarities, and a richly-documented case study of cognate awareness used as a motivational strategy in a foreign language classroom. This text will be a valuable resource for scholars of multilingualism and for foreign language teachers looking for better ways to motivate their students and to make them more fluent and eloquent.

- Aneta Pavlenko, Temple University, USA

This book offers one of the most extensive treatments of crosslinguistic lexical similarity. Otwinowska defines cognates broadly as words with similar forms and meanings across languages and discusses the origins of such words, how they become associated in the mind, what types of crosslinguistic influences arise from these associations, and how language learners and teachers can make the best use of them…a great resource for both researchers and teachers.

- Scott Jarvis, Ohio University, USA

Author Biography:

Agnieszka Otwinowska is Assistant Professor at the Institute of English Studies, University of Warsaw, Poland. Her research interests include crosslinguistic influences, bilingual and multilingual language acquisition in children and adults, language teaching, bilingual education and CLIL. She is the co-editor of Teaching and Learning in Multilingual Contexts (with Gessica De Angelis, Multilingual Matters, 2014).

Readership Level:

Postgraduate, Research / Professional

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