Words with Multiple Meanings in Repetitions

Additional meanings for words with multiple meanings in a foreign language often need to be acquired from exposure, e.g. from reading, as there are too many meanings to be directly taught in the limited classroom time. Acquisition of multiple meanings from exposure in reading will depend to a large extent on the availability of the various meanings in L2 texts. The present study investigates the uses of seven high frequency adjectives in English with multiple dictionary meanings over their entire occurrences in J.K.Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The adjectives have been chosen for analysis for their frequency in the language as well as their frequency in the book. All seven words were among most frequent 1,000 words of English as well as being the top most frequent adjectives used in the book. The meaning in each repetition of a given adjective was coded by matching it to one of the meanings listed for the word in the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary using Maxqda Analysis Software. The results suggested that 61% of the dictionary meanings for the seven adjectives occurred at least once in the book with 48% of the covered senses appearing 7 or more times. The book provides full coverage of the dictionary senses for two words and high coverage for another three. It has been concluded that authentic novels like Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone could be a rich source of input for semantic elaboration of adjectives with multiple meanings.


adjectives with multiple meanings, repetitions, reading, EFL

Author : Meral ÖZTÜRK
Number of pages: 200-207
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18033/ijla.3583
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International Journal of Language Academy
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