The Impact of Presenting Semantically Related Clusters of New Words vs. Semantically Unrelated Clusters on Iranian Intermediate EFL learners' Vocabulary Acquisition

Saeide Shiri, Ehsan Rezvani


This study investigates the impact of presenting semantically related clusters of new words vs. semantically unrelated clusters on Iranian intermediate EFL learners' vocabulary acquisition. Three groups of participants studying at Isfahan were presented new words through "The Oxford Picture Dictionary" and "504 Absolutely Essential Words" to one group in semantically related words as the first experimental group and the other group in semantically unrelated words as the second experimental group. The control group was presented new words through six reading texts from "Reading through Interaction". The results of the study indicated that the group which had been taught the semantically unrelated word clusters outperformed the group which had received semantically related word clusters in the post-test. The findings of the study provide evidence that presenting new words to EFL learners in semantically related sets may impede vocabulary acquisition due to interference impact of similar words with each other. EFL learners have to discriminate between the items of similar words and this can obstruct their vocabulary acquisition and retention.


semantically related clusters, semantically unrelated clusters, vocabulary acquisition, retention

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