Language interference - Sample Essay

The sentence structure and the position of words. A teacher should emphasize that the Standard English requires a different kind of expression and sentence structure. The students should avoid the usage of grammar structures borrowed from their native language. The expression of modality and the usage of modal verbs. The topic of modality should be taught with the reference to English etiquette and cultural concepts. Understanding: Lack of understanding of English idioms. It requires more intensive usage of the English dictionary of idioms in class.

Also a teacher can give home tasks which are based on the work with English idioms. The understanding of English socio-cultural notions according to the similar notions created in Maldives. This problem needs extra socio-cultural commentaries, explanations and discussions on the topic of the history of England, its culture and society. Lack of understanding of English humour and irony. This problem requires extra hours of reading (home, individual, in class) of the English classic literature. In the paper the topic of language interference has been examined.

The paper attempts to uncover the topic both theoretically and practically. In other words, the influence of mother tongue is studied first in theory and then on the basis of the acquired knowledge the investigation is conducted. The theoretical part of the research consists of: defining the terms and explaining the main notions of the theory; theory statement and theory illustration with examples. Thus, it has been found out that the notion of mother tongue is similar to the notions: native language and the first language.

Also it is pointed out that the meaning of term ‘Foreign Language’ radically differs from that of ‘Second Language’. The dichtonomy ‘Foreign Language’-‘Second Language’ has a number of factors, which help to differentiate them. Additionally, the paper characterizes what Standard English is and disputes on the point of a learner’s ability to approach the standard of the English language. Further, the mechanisms of the influence of mother tongue in pronunciation, expression and understanding have been studied.

It is found out that phonologic adoptions and borrowings from mother tongue result from a learner’s inability to reproduce the sounds correctly and from the similarities with some sounds of the mother tongue. The main force of a mother tongue influence in expression is found in the lack of idiomacity and conceptualization. This obstacle is difficult to overcome, since a learner of a foreign language can not fully imitate the way of thinking and metaphor expression of native speakers.

The negative transfer in understanding has been investigated in two aspects: phonologic and socio-cultural. In phonologic area the mechanism of negative transfer in understanding is related to the mechanisms of the influence of mother tongue in pronunciation, whereas socio-cultural aspects of understanding are closely connected with the mother tongue influence in expression. The investigation of the thesis is based on the idea that all the languages have similar features and the affect of mother tongue is the strongest in the similarities.

This idea is stated in the frames of the theory of similarities and supported by the investigations of such well-known scientists as: Ausubel, Novak, and Hanesian (1978), Wode (1978), Young-Scholten (1985), and Flege (1995). The results of the investigation can be estimated as satisfactory. After the investigation the obtained data is analyzed and the recommendations are given. The study has observed a number of problems in the English language learning in Maldives which are caused by the influence of the mother tongue. More specifically, in pronunciation Maldivian students have difficulty in the following:

The right vowel quantity. Analogous sounds. Consonant conflations. Phonetic realizations. Consonant cluster simplification. Reduced unstressed vowels. Tone groups. Nuclear/contrastive stress but not tone. While expressing their ideas in the English language, Maldivian students face the following problems: The sentence structure and the position of words. The expression of modality and the usage of modal verbs. While understanding the English language, Maldivian students may have the following problems: Lack of understanding of English idioms.

The understanding of English socio-cultural notions according to the similar notions created in Maldives. Lack of understanding of English humour and irony. The current study suggests the following: While learning English pronunciation Maldivian students should distinguish between the similar sounds of the native tongue and the English language; The specific features of the English phonological system should be better explained and trained using the techniques of contrast and comparison with the mother tongue. The teacher should be well-trained and be able to provide with the necessary socio-cultural explanations and comments;

The topics of the English grammar should be taught on the socio-linguistic background; The usage of idiomatic dictionaries should be intensified; The texts of the English classic literature should be frequent components of in class and after class activities.

Bibliography

Atkinson, D. 1987. ‘The mother-tongue in the classroom : a neglected resource ? ‘ (ELT Journal, 44/1 : 3-10) Atkinson, D. 1993. Teaching Monolingual Classes (Longman) Baynham, M. 1983. ‘Mother Tongue Materials and Second Language Literacy’ (ELT Journal, 37/4 : 312-318)