VLI 5(1): Nakao (2016)

Loanwords for Language Learners: Help or Hindrance?
Kaori Nakao
Kyushu Sangyo University
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.7820/vli.v05.1.nakao
Download this article (pdf)

Background: Loanwords are a growing component of the Japanese
language. During the past six decades, the majority of new loanwords
entering the Japanese language have come from the English language. For
native Japanese speaking students, loanwords are a source of potential
frustration and support, both within their L1 and L2 (English).
Aims: To explore and further our understanding of students’ knowledge
of high frequency loanwords.
Sample: One hundred thirty undergraduate students of mixed major,
studying in a compulsory course (Eigo/Eigokaiwa), at Kyushu Sangyo
University, participated in this exploratory study.
Methods: This study compares loanword self-reported difficulty (L2) with
students’ productive knowledge in their L1. This study was undertaken
with a group of first- and second-year students (n!130) enrolled in
compulsory English classes.
Results: For half of the loanwords examined, self-reported difficulty and
students’ productive knowledge was consistent. The remaining words
examined were inconsistent with self-report measures, generally underestimating
students’ actual productive knowledge.
Conclusions: Error analyses of students’ L1 sentences indicated that
inconsistencies observed between self-report and productive knowledge
may be due to students’ partial knowledge of words expressed through
their reliance on katakana translations of the words tested. Implications
for practice and future directions are discussed.

Nakao, K. (2016). Loanwords for language learners: Help or hindrance? Vocabulary Learning and Instruction, 5 (1), 18-28. doi: 10.7820/vli.v05.1.nakao