The concept of ‘synforms’ (Similar lexical forms) in vocabulary acquisition

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The paper discusses an error pattern in vocabulary learning — confusion of ‘synforms’ (words of similar form). It defines, illustrates and classifies synforms into categories on the basis of their features of similarity. In categories 1–5, synforms are different from each other in an affix and identical in their root; categories 6–9 include synforms differing from each other in one phoneme, vowel or consonant. In category 10, synforms are identical in consonants, but different in some or all of their vowels. It is argued that the study of synforms may shed light not only on the phenomenon of synformic confusions as such, but also on the representation and organisation of lexical items in the learner’s lexicon, on language learning processes and on vocabulary teaching requirements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-132
Number of pages20
JournalLanguage and Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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