The effect of semantically related and unrelated vocabularies on EFL learners’ short-term and long term recognition and retention

2016 IJRSE – Volume 5 Issue 4


Ebrahimi, Marzieh*
Islamic Azad University Science & Research Branch, Neyshabur, Iran (

Akbari, Omid
English Language Department, Imam Reza International University, Iran (


The present study with a quasi- experimental design, aimed at comparing the effect of semantically related and semantically unrelated clustering on elementary EFL Iranian learner’s recognition ability and their retention. Participants were divided into two groups of 30 learners at elementary level, randomly assigned as experimental and control groups. They were all females, with the age range of 12 to 14, learning English at one of the language Institutes in Mashhad, Iran. Some instruments were used for collecting the research data. The experimental group underwent semantic clustering in which they were provided with eight lists of words, whereas the control group was presented eight unrelated word list with their pictures. An ANCOVA test was used to compare the effectiveness of two groups during short and long period of time. The comparison of two groups in post immediate test have shown that control group outperformed the experimental group, whereas for the delayed test, the results showed a significant difference in favor of semantically related over semantically unrelated clustering. The results have some implications for teaching of foreign language vocabulary instruction.

Keywords: flashcard; long term; recognition; retention; semantically related clustering; semantically unrelated clustering; short term



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