French-English Cognates in the Jordanian Foreign Language Learning Classroom: Friends or Foes?

  •  Samia Azieb    
  •  Rajai AL-Khanji    
  •  Majid Tarawneh    


The aim of the present study is two-fold in essence. First, it aims at finding out the extent to which cognates’ recognition aids Jordanian French-English bilinguals to translate from English into French. Second, it seeks to determine if such recognition can be a good strategy in learning foreign languages. Accordingly, a Translation Elicitation Task containing cognates and false cognates was devised and given to a sample of 31 students majoring in French at both the B.A and M.A levels at the University of Jordan. Findings of the study showed that most students did benefit from their English language background, and thus cognates facilitated their comprehension of French. However, some students participating in the translation test were not mindful of the lexical differences between English and French, thus producing an incorrect interpretation of the text. The study ends with a recommendation for foreign language instructors to teach cognate recognition strategies explicitly.

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