Lexicalization vs. Vocalization: A Cross-Linguistic Study of Emphasis in English and Persian

Document Type : Research Article


Yazd University


Language is a system of verbal elements that makes communication of meanings
possible in the manners the users intend by employing certain linguistic devices
which are partly language-specific. Once communicating cross-linguistically, there
is always a risk of negative transfer of techniques or processes from the first
language (L1) to the foreign language (L2). The current study investigates the
“emphasis” issue and how it is encoded and performed as a speech act in Persian
and English. The investigation, based on a descriptive method, begins by verifying
overstated and understated utterances in English and Persian individually and then
proceeds to evaluate the 2 bodies of data against each other. As observed in the case
of Iranian learners of English, the process of emphasizing through phonological
devices is heavily transferred. English mainly applies lexicalization, whereas
vocalization is the preferred process in Persian. The tenets of this study may be of
insight for theories of SLA. They also promise to ease English learning tasks by
reducing students' negative transfer from their mother tongue.