The Impact of Teaching English Polysemy through Similarity-Based Approach

  • Tinatin Vardidze I. Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, Georgia


This paper aims to investigate the effectiveness of teaching polysemous nouns through an innovative method that the researcher calls Similarity-Based Approach (SBA) and to compare it to the translation-based vocabulary instruction method (TBM). The objective of the study is to show how guiding students’ comprehension of a polysemous word through semantic relations improves their understanding.  At the same time, it is the aim of the study to demonstrate the effectiveness of Similarity-Based instruction by teaching vocabulary through showing semantic relation of word meaning to young learners compared to the old, traditional way of memorizing pairs of words. The experiment is conducted with two groups of elementary students with a pre-test, a lesson and a post-test. The results in the post-test revealed that through SBA students remember the vocabulary better than they do through the traditional method of memorization. SBA might represent a new method in teaching polysemous vocabulary to young learners, while TBM implies a traditional, well rooted way of teaching polysemous words in ESL classrooms.