Academic journal article International Journal of English Studies

Lexical Transfer in the Written Production of a CLIL Group and a Non-CLIL Group

Academic journal article International Journal of English Studies

Lexical Transfer in the Written Production of a CLIL Group and a Non-CLIL Group

Article excerpt


Previous research on the difference in terms of lexical transfer between CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) and non-CLIL students has revealed that CLIL students produce fewer lexical transfer errors than non-CLIL students. This study aimed at comparing the lexical transfer production of two groups of students (CLIL and non-CLIL) and determining whether language proficiency was a key factor when predicting differences between both groups (Bruton, 2011a). The sample for the research consisted of 36 students in grade 7. Subjects' language proficiency was assessed through the English Unlimited Placement Test, whereas their lexical transfer production was tested through a written composition in English. The results indicated that there was no significant difference in language proficiency between both groups and that the difference in lexical transfer lied in the influence exerted by a few participants on the results.

KEYWORDS: Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL), English as a Foreign Language (EFL), language proficiency, lexical transfer (borrowings, lexical inventions, calques).


Diferentes estudios sobre transferencia léxica en el contexto AICLE han revelado que los alumnos AICLE producen menos errores de transferencia léxica que sus compañeros en ILE. Trabajando sobre una muestra de 36 alumnos en 1ESO, este estudio tiene como objetivo comparar la producción de transferencia léxica en dos grupos de alumnos (AICLE e ILE) y determinar si la competencia lingüística es un factor determinante a la hora de predecir diferencias entre ambos grupos (Bruton, 2011a). Se utilizó el English Unlimited Placement Test para medir la competencia lingüística de los alumnos y una composición escrita en inglés para evaluar la producción de errores de transferencia léxica. Los resultados muestran que no hay una diferencia significativa entre ambos grupos en cuanto a competencia lingüística. Aquellos alumnos en ILE producen más errores de transferencia léxica que los alumnos AICLE, pero un análisis individual por participantes reveló que esta diferencia residía en los errores cometidos por tres alumnos en ILE.

PALABRAS CLAVE: AICLE (Aprendizaje Integrado de Contenido y Lengua Extranjera), Inglés como Lengua Extranjera (ILE), competencia lingüística, transferencia léxica (préstamos, invenciones léxicas, calcos).


Research in the field of second language acquisition (SLA) is currently experiencing a renewed interest in language transfer due to the increasing implementation of CLIL programmes in educational contexts. This revival is mainly caused by recent findings which have proved a decreased influence of lexical transfer in those students who are immersed in CLIL programmes (Agustín LI ach, 2009; Celaya, 2008; Cel aya & Ruiz de Zarobe, 2010), that is, programmes in which the curricular content is taught and learned through the medium of a foreign language (Dalton-Puffer, 2011), in this particular case, English.

The main purpose of this study is to contribute to previous research on lexical transfer by comparing the written production of a CLIL and non-CLIL group of students in Andalusia1 (Spain), where CLIL has been used for several years. In doing so, we will also address the debate created in this region about the benefits of CLIL between Lorenzo, Casal and Moore (2010, 2011) and Bruton (2011a, 2011b). While Lorenzo and his colleagues highlight the significant foreign language score differences between CLIL and non-CLIL groups, Bruton claims that the outstanding reported benefits of CLIL methodology are rooted in various factors favouring CLIL students such as their higher language proficiency. In this sense we want to determine whether language proficiency is a crucial factor in the possible differences in lexical transfer we could find between the CLIL and non-CLIL students of our study.


2.1. CLIL

Nowadays CLIL methodology is gaining more and more ground in European educational systems as a direct response to the recognized need for plurilingual competence in our present-day society (European Commission, 1995), but what are the pedagogic implications of CLIL in foreign language learning? …

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