The paper is concerned with the phenomenon of synforms which is defined as form similarity between words, pairs, or groups of words in terms of sound, script or morphology (Laufer, 2005). Synformy has been researched within the context of language acquisition and lexical errors. However, it has not been investigated in the context of naturalistic classroom environment. The data presented in this paper were collected in an EAP teacher’s classroom. Results suggest that it is important for language teachers to raise their awareness of synforms because their unpredictable nature may negatively affect the way in which teachers treat lexical items. The factors shaping the teacher’s instructional decisions about synforms predominantly relate to students and lexical items. The implications and challenges of treating synforms during classroom instruction are also discussed.

Key words: vocabulary, synform, lexical difficulty, teacher cognition, lexis-related episodes

Theory and Practice in Language Studies, Vol. 4, No. 9, pp. 1753-1762, September 2014
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