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Title: Native language (L1) transfer in second language learning : from form to concept, the implications
Authors: Austen, Samantha
Keywords: Native language and education
Second language acquisition
Similarity (Language learning)
Interlanguage (Language learning)
Issue Date: 2017-09
Publisher: Malta Chamber of Scientists
Citation: Austen, S. (2017). Native language (L1) transfer in second language learning : from form to concept, the implications. Xjenza, 5(1), 77-80.
Abstract: The influence that a student’s first language (L1) can have on their acquisition of a second language (L2) has been frequently noted by language teachers (Swan, 1997; Jarvis, 2007) and documented in the literature for decades. However, thinking has gradually evolved in terms of the form that influence could take. Early research work focussed on transfer of syntax or form, but recently the role that L1 conceptual information plays in transfer has come to the fore. The 1960s saw a plethora of contrastive studies inspired by the work of Robert Lado (1957), where languages were analysed using the prevailing structuralist approaches to language description. These contrastive studies were conceived with the view to predicting the types of errors speakers of one language would make while learning another, and this became known as the Contrastive Analysis Hypothesis (CAH) (Lado, 1957). This view was based in the behaviourist paradigm of the time which saw language learning as habit formation. This implied that learning a new language meant the transfer of elements and features from the first language to the target language, and that old ‘habits’ may interfere with second language acquisition (Aarts, 1982). Pairs of languages were compared in terms of their similarities and differences looking at linguistic units in relation to the overarching system to which they belonged (see Vinay & Darbelnet, 1960; Agard & Di Pietro, 1965, for examples). However, the CAH was severely criticised in the late 1960s, as it did not seem to be able to predict any classroom errors that language teachers had not already noticed, and was not able to offer any solutions with regard to how to deal with these errors (Corder, 1967).
Appears in Collections:Xjenza, 2017, Volume 5, Issue 1
Xjenza, 2017, Volume 5, Issue 1

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