Do German English Language Learners know English Homophones?

Reem Ibrahim Rabadi


There are many ubiquitous words in English language that either sound or are spelt alike which cause ambiguity at the lexical level to learners of English. This could lead to a serious difficulty in communication in general as well as in translation or interpretation in particular. As far as German learners are concerned, this study explores the reasons beyond this ambiguity for undergraduate German students studying International Technical Translation. It was revealed that the negative effect of their L1 and their vocabulary deficiency are the main reasons for their low performance in both recognition and production homophones tests.


Homophones; Homonymy; Error analysis; Interlingual transfer; Intralingual transfer

Full Text:



Abdullahi-Idiagbon, M. S., & Olaniyi, O. K. (2011). Coinages in Nigerian English: A sociolinguistic perspective. African Nebula, 3, 78-85.

Alm-Arvis, C. (2011). Polysemy: Conventional and incidental cases. Linguistics

Applied, 4, 11-46.

Allan, K., Bradshaw, R., Finch, G., Burridge, K., & Heydon, G. (2010). The English

language and linguistics companion. UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

Asher, R. E. (1994). The encyclopedia of language and linguistics (Vol. 3, p.1595).

Oxford: Pergamon Press Ltd.

Brown, H. D. (1994). Principles of language learning and teaching (3rd ed.).

New Jersey: Prentice Hall Regents.

Brown, H. D. (2001). Teaching by principles: An interactive approach to language

pedagogy (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Longman, Inc.

Bussman, H. (1996). Routledge dictionary of language and linguistics. London:


Carter, R. (1987). Vocabulary and second/foreign language teaching. Language Teaching, 20, 3-16.

Channell, J. (1981). Applying semantic theory to vocabulary teaching. ELT, 35(2),


Cruse. A. (2006). A glossary of semantics and pragmatics. Edinburgh: Edinburgh

University Press.

Cruse. A. (2011). Meaning in language: An introduction to semantics and

pragmatics (3rd ed.). UK: Oxford University Press Inc.

Crystal, D. (2003). A dictionary of linguistics and phonetics (5th ed.). Oxford:

Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Crystal, D. (2010). The Cambridge encyclopedia of language a dictionary of

language (3rd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Corder, S. P. (1981) Error analysis and interlanguage. Oxford: Oxford University


Cowie, A. P. (2009). Semantics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Dieling, H., & Hirschfeld, U. (2000). Phontik Lehren und Lernen, Fernstudieneinheit

21. Langenscheid. Berlin: Germany.

Dulay, H. C., & Burt, M. K. (1972). Goofing: an indicator of children’s second

language learning strategies. Language Learning 22(2).235-


Ellis, R. (1994). The study of second language acquisition. Oxford: Oxford

University Press.

Faerch, C., & Kasper, G. (1983). Plans and strategies in foreign language

communication. In C. Faerch & G. Kasper (Eds.), Strategies in interlanguage

communication. UK: Longman.

Finch, G. (2000). Linguistics terms and concepts. UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

Fromkin, V., Rodman, R., & Hyams, N. (2014). An introduction to language (10th

ed.). Boston: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

Gramley, S., & Pätzold, K. (1992). A survey of modern English. London: Routledge.

Grijzenhout, J. (2000). Voicing and devoicing in English, German and Dutch;

evidence for domain-specific identity constraints. Theories des lexicons

116 (Arbeiten des Sonderforschungsbereich 282). Heinrich-Heine-

Universität, Düsseldorf.

Hatch, E., & Brown, C. (1995). Vocabulary, semantics, and language education.

UK: Cambridge University Press.

Hawkes, T. (1972). Metaphor. London: Methuen

Helbig, G., Lutz, L., Henrici, G., & Krumm, H. (Eds.). (2001). Deutsch als

fremdsprache ein internationales handbuch 1. Halbband. Berlin: Walter de


Homonym, (n.d.). In Oxford dictionaries online. Retrieved from http: //

Hudelson, S., Poyner, L., & Wolfe, P. (2003). Teaching bilingual and ESL children

and adolescents. In J. Flood, D. Lapp, J. R. Squire, & J. M. Jensen (Eds.),

Handbook of research on teaching the English language arts (2nd ed.)

(pp.421-443). New Jersey: Erlbaum.

Iverson, G., & Salmons, J. (1995). Aspiration and laryngeal representation in

Germanic. Phonology, 12, 369-396.

James, C. (1998). Errors in language learning and use exploring error analysis.

Harlow: Longman.

Jessen, M., & Ringen, C. (2002). Laryngeal features in German. Phonology 19(2),


Kellerman, E. (1979). Transfer and non-transfer: Where we are now. Studies in

Second Language Acquisition, 2, 37-57.

Kreidler, C. W. (1998). Introducing English semantics. London: Routledge.

Laufer, B. (1997). Some properties of the foreign language learner’s lexicon as

evidenced by lexical confusions. IRAL, 29(4), 317-330.

Littlewood, W. T. (1984). Foreign and second language learning. Cambridge:

Cambridge University Press.

Lyons, J. (1977). Semantics (Vol. 2). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Lyons, J. (1995). Linguistics semantics: An introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge

University Press.

Löbner, S. (2002). Understanding semantics. Great Britain: Arnold.

Odlin, T. (1989). Language transfer: Cross-linguistic influence in language learning.

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Palmer, F. R. (1984). Semantics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Pinker, S. (1995). The language Instinct. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

Richards, J. C. (1971). A non-contrastive approach to error analysis. English

Language Teaching Journal, 25, 204-219.

Richards, J. C. (1974). A non-contrastive approach to error analysis. In J. C.

Richards (Ed.), Error analysis: Perspectives on second language

acquisition (pp.172-188). London: Longman.

Richards,J., C., & Schmidt, R. (2010). Longman dictionary of language teaching and

applied linguistics (4th ed.). Great Britain: Routledge.

Readence, J. E., Baldwin, R. S., & Head, M. H. (1986). Direct instruction in processing

metaphors. Journal of Reading Behavior, 18, 325-339.

Selinker, L. (1974). Interlanguage. In Richards, J. (Ed.). Error analysis: Perspectives

on second language acquisition (pp.31-54). Essex: Longman.

Tag. (n.d.). In Collins dictionary online. Retrieved from http:

Taylor, B. P. (1975). The use of overgeneralization and transfer learning strategies by

elementary and intermediate students of ESL. Language Learning, 25, 73-107.

Van Patten, B., & Benati, A. G. (2010). Key terms in second language acquisition.

London: Continuum

Wangler, H. (1974). Grundriss einer phonetik des deutschen. N. G. Elwert Verlag

Marburg: Germany

Wiese, R. (1996). The Phonology of German. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Yule, G. C. (2014). The study of language (5th ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Zughoul, M. (1991). Lexical choice: Towards writing problematic word lists. IRAL, 29(1), 45-60.

Zughoul, M., & Abdul-Fattah, H. (2003). Collocational strategies of Arab learners

of English: A study in lexical semantics (ERIC Document Reproduction

Service No. ED 479746).



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c)

Share us to:   


How to do online submission to another Journal?

If you have already registered in Journal A, then how can you submit another article to Journal B? It takes two steps to make it happen:

1. Register yourself in Journal B as an Author

Find the journal you want to submit to in CATEGORIES, click on “VIEW JOURNAL”, “Online Submissions”, “GO TO LOGIN” and “Edit My Profile”. Check “Author” on the “Edit Profile” page, then “Save”.

2. Submission

Go to “User Home”, and click on “Author” under the name of Journal B. You may start a New Submission by clicking on “CLICK HERE”.

We only use three mailboxes as follows to deal with issues about paper acceptance, payment and submission of electronic versions of our journals to databases:;;

 Articles published in Studies in Literature and Language are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (CC-BY).


Address: 1020 Bouvier Street, Suite 400, Quebec City, Quebec, G2K 0K9, Canada. 
Telephone: 1-514-558 6138 
Website: Http://; Http://;;

Copyright © 2010 Canadian Academy of Oriental and Occidental Culture