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Perception of Cognate Similarity


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Kovačić, Nives. (2019). Perception of Cognate Similarity. Diploma Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of English Language and Literature. [mentor Letica Krevelj, Stela].

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It has been widely acknowledged that language typology that is, the structural distance between languages which can be objectively measured, plays an important role in the process of language acquisition and processing. However, as it is often the case with any matter that involves human cognition and perception, humans do not perceive the objective distance between languages in the same way. About four decades ago Kellerman (1983) introduced the term psychotypology to refer to the perception of the degree of typological proximity which strongly influences the extent to which one will attempt to transfer from one language to another. The perception of similarity at the lexical level is the focus of the present study and it is our aim to shed some light on the variables which can influence it. An instrument consisting of 54 lexical items in Croatian, paired with their cognates in six different languages (nine cognate pairs per language), was given to 110 Croatian participants in order to measure their perception of similarity between the cognates. Based on the previous research into subjective similarity and receptive multilingualism, there are two types of variables which affect the subjective similarity: item-related and participant related. Their effect is tested in the study. In addition, the psychotypology at the language system level is believed to influence the similarity perception at the level of items as well. The results of the study generally corroborate some of the previous findings related to the item-related variables but there are also some unexpected findings in the similarity ratings accross six different languages. The study suggests that psychotopology at the language system level plays a role in similarity ratings of lexical items.

Item Type: Diploma Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: psychotypology, cognates, crosslinguistic similarity
Subjects: English language and literature
Departments: Department of English Language and Literature
Supervisor: Letica Krevelj, Stela
Date Deposited: 22 Jul 2019 07:20
Last Modified: 22 Jul 2019 07:20

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