English are examples of true cognates; they both refer to a “female parent”. A vast majority of cognate words in the languages of the world are normally taken to belong to this category of cognate words.
False cognates, on the other hand, violate such relations. They are defined as terms that denote word pairs from different languages that, in spite of their formal similarities, may have different meanings cross-linguistically. In other words, they resemble each other in the form but express different meanings in each of the two languages.
Basically, there are two types of false cognates: a) those resulting from family relations between languages, and b) those resulting from languages borrowing from each other. The former may especially be found when two languages have sister relations in the family tree. Therefore, one cannot expect to find this type of false cognates in Modern English and Modern Persian since they can exhibit a remote kinship relationship in the Indo-European family of languages. Nevertheless, any type of such relations, if any, is within a diachronic study of the two languages. (Pirooz, 2004, P.122).
2.6. Experimentson Iranian EFL learners’ knowledge of English vocabulary
Lotfi (2007), stated that “vocabulary learning is one of the major challenges foreign language learners face during the process of learning a language” (P.85).she argued that becoming independent learners in L2 vocabulary learning is a potential solution to this problem. She also suggested that one way to enhance the knowledge of L2 vocabulary is through equipping learners with a variety of vocabulary learning strategies based on cognitive styles. It was also recommended that language teachers make students aware of the need to become independent learners by directing their attention toward the strategies that can help them to be successful. It was concluded that “…teachers should consider the learners ‘ willingness and readiness to receive trainings and think of the most appropriate way to introduce the strategies” (P.85).
The subjects of the study who receive special treatment on English etymology are required to possess an acceptable level of English and Persian proficiency to be able to catch up with the training course. Hence, only EFL students, preferably intermediate and upper-intermediate students majoring in English, are more susceptible to learn from the application of this strategy to vocabulary learning.
A similar research has been done by Fotovatnia, Z &Taleb, F (2012) in order to investigate the mental representation of cognate and noncognate translation pairs inlanguages with different scripts to test the prediction of dual lexiconmodel (Gollan, Forster, & Frost, 1997). Two groups of PersianspeakingEnglish language learners were tested on cognate andnoncognate translation pairs in Persian-English and English-Persiandirections with lexical decision task through masked priming. Thefindings of the study showed a high level of priming only for cognateswith L1 primes. This supports dual lexicon model in the sense that itconfirms the role of orthography in establishing shared lexical entriesfor cognates. Noncognates showed a different pattern from what ispredicted by this model.
The purpose of his study was to compare the pattern ofpriming for cognate and noncognate translation pairs in L1-L2 (Persian-English) and L2-L1 (English-Persian) directions across the Persian andEnglish languages. To test for Persian-English congate-noncognatedifference, it was attempted to use cognates that shared a common rootdue to historical reasons. Long lists of English words of Persian originwere found for this purpose. However, few of them could be used, as itwas necessary to make sure that all the participants knew and hencerecognized the chosen items as L2 words. To increase the number ofcognate stimuli, a number of loan words were added to the list, too.Although such words are borrowed from English, native Persian speakerslearn and use them in (in) formal settings before they know that they arevery similar to their English translation equivalents.Although both Persian and English have alphabetic scripts, they
Have no orthographical overlap, as each uses quite distinct characters.Moreover, Persian is written from right to left, whereas English is writtenin the reverse direction. Furthermore, the characters used in Persianwords mostly include the consonantal information. The informationrelated to vowels is absent in some cases.(Fotovatian et al, 2012, P.1477).
Another new research has been done concerning Persian’s cognates and false friends with some IE languages:
“This study aims at identifying a kind of cognate words which are called false or true cognates in Persian and some IE Languages. False cognates are words which have the same form and pronunciation in two or more languages, but despite their similarity in form, and pronunciation they have dissimilar meanings in the two languages. True cognates are the result of kinship relations across languages, or borrowings. False and true cognates might be found in nearly all languages with any kind of relation to other languages. There are still some “real” cognates found in the lexicon of Persian and some IE languages. By document reviewing much interesting information has been revealed. The conclusions of this study will provide new insights into the linguistic and the communication problems derived from a misuse of these lexical items. The study of false friends and true Cognates has several implications for contrastive analysts, error analysts, translators, foreign language teachers and learners, curriculum designers, as well as lexicographers and lexicologists.” (Talebnejad et al, 2012, P.1477).
According to Talebnejad et al (2012, P.1483) in this implementation, major findings of the study were considered as the interlocutors ‘chances for identifying, learning and eradicating sources of false friends, and miscommunications. Cognates were also considered as facilitating communication. As a whole, a major challenge facing all interlocutors is how to determine why or what causes interlocutors to be unusual or abnormal. The next major challenge is managing, handling, or controlling of two interlocutor’s miscommunication problems. We know that when false friends get out of control, communication is negatively impacted, and in the other hand with the familiarity of true cognates, no troublesome occurs in the process of communication among speakers of different root related( that is)IE languages. In other words, being aware of the true cognates or false friends, communication and learning are facilitated. As suggested by the current study, students´ problems with false friends could be greatly reduced if teachers paid more attention to a meaningful teaching of these lexical items. One way of doing this is by teaching false friends in context. The use of audiovisual materials (pictures, videos, cartoons) in the classroom might be valuable and could promote students ‘reflection on the potential misunderstandings caused by those problematic words in naturally occurring situations. To summarize, this study shows that there is room for teachers ‘action in relation to false friends. EFL learners have serious problems when using these lexical items and teachers should deal with this issue so that learners´ lexical competence expands and potential misunderstandings can be prohibited. Students ‘errors in the realm of false and true cognates have always been of interest and significance to teachers, syllabus designers and test developers. It is widely held that insight gained from the study of learners ‘errors can provide invaluable information for devising appropriate materials and effective teaching techniques, and constructing tests suitable for different groups of learners at various stages of second language development. Accordingly this study offers much fruitful contribution to different field of study. The study of false friends and true Cognates has several pedagogical
implications for contrastive analysts, error analysts, translators, foreign language teachers and learners, curriculum designers, as well as lexicographers and lexicologists.
A. Implication for Teachers
Teachers can benefit from the findings of false or true cognates in different ways. They can have an identified and classified category to deal with and to devise suitable materials and teaching techniques. This study will enable the teacher to emphasize more those areas where the error frequency is higher. This study enables teachers to focus on controversial issues and devote more time to the items they have been working on.
B. Implication for Learners
From the study of false or true cognates learners can identify the problematic areas for themselves at different level of instruction. They will be able to infer the nature of native and target language in their learning career and discover what they still have to learn.
C. Implication for Syllabus Designers
These kind of lexical errors are significance to syllabus designers to see what item are crucial to be included in the syllabus and what are redundant and should be excluded. They can provide serve remedial courses and program.
Another experiment on Iranian EFL learner’s knowledge of English vocabulary has been done which was mainly focused on English-Persian and Persian-English false cognates:
This study aims at studying a kind of cognate words which are called false cognates in English-Persian and Persian-English data. False cognates are words which have the same form in the two languages, but despite their similarity in form, they have different meanings in the two languages.
And also another study has been done by mohammadrezaPirooz on Iranian EFL learners’ knowledge of English vocabulary with the title “on English-Persian and Persian-English False cognates”:
“This study aims at studying a kind of cognate words which are called false cognates in English-Persian and Persian-English data. False cognates are words which have the same form in the two languages. False cognates are of two kinds: a) those resulting from kinship relations across languages, and b) false cognates resulting from borrowing. False cognates can be found in almost all languages with any kind of relation to other languages. Due to remote kinship relation between English and Persian, the first type of false cognates was not found in the data; though there are still some “real” cognates found in the lexicon of the two languages. The second type of the false cognates was found in a relatively good amount in the two languages. These were classified into two subgroups according to their directionality, a) English to Persian lists, and b) Persian to English lists. Each of the two subgroups has its own subcategories. The study also resulted in finding a new phenomenon which we may term as “back borrowing”. In this phenomenon, a borrowed word is sent back with a new meaning to the original language as a new instance of borrowing. The study of false cognates has some implications for contrastive analysts, error analysts, translators, translation theorists, foreign language teachers, curriculum designers, as well as lexicographers and lexicologists.”
Words have their own history and lifespan. They come into existence, they blend into one another, they change, they travel from one region to another, and they are get longer or shorter, and may finally die! These changes, sometimes, turn into some forms that they are no longer look like their original forms. Their appearance may change due to different accents of numerous inhabitants or ethnic groups so that recognizing their original form gets difficult and it needs intricate investigations and historical linguistics.
According to Nourai (1998) Words are the elements of a language used to