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The Interference of L1 in the Acquisition of a Foreign Languag1

The Interference of L1 in the Acquisition of a Foreign Languag1

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Published by: mansillacontreras on Jul 26, 2008
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05/31/2013

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The interference of L1 in the acquisition of a foreign language.
 Name: Cecilia Molina.During this semester I have observed a 7
th
grade in a primary school called Gabriela Mistral inCoronel. I have been in this class from April, 24
th
to June, 26
th
for two hours every Thursdayfrom 9.00 to 10.30. I have to reinforce a small group of them every Wednesday from 4.00 to5.00 pm.This class has 3 hours of English per week. They are beginning level learners. Nobody speaksEnglish because they have to memorize grammar rules. This is due to the teacher only teachesthem grammar skill in writing and he does not let them speak during the lessons because heunderestimate most of students. Besides, he considers that if he gives the opportunity tostudents of talking, they will make noise and he will not manage the classroom.The teacher took an English language course for primary school. My role is to observe the class,take the attendance, make clear some students’ doubts and maintain the children quiet and insilence. The teacher has spent the whole semester explaining the structure of the auxiliary verbswhen asking questions or answering short yes/no questions in the Simple Present Tense.
Why do learners confuse the auxiliary verbs in writing?
Beginning learners do not have clear when to use the *auxiliary verbs or they simply omit itwhen asking or answering questions in the simple present tense. Students make errors becauseL1 interferes learnersacquisition of a foreign language and they translate directly or *overgeneralize a known rule. As *Tony Penston (2005) pointed out the proportion of errorscaused by L1 interference can range from about 30% to 65%, depending on the student’s L1resembles English the more the student will be inclined to use the *syntax and *lexis of their language, often falling into the trap of using what are known as “false friends” in the process.I collected a few handouts in which the students had to make the questions and answer yes/noquestions. For instance: “Is the rent $950 a month?” The students answer: “Yes, I do”, or “It isabout 1500 square feet?” and the students answer “No, it doesn’t”. Given the above points Inoticed that the students overgeneralize the rule. Other example: “He goes to the beach”. They produce the question like this: “Where he goes to? Using direct translation.From the data we may see that the students do not use do/does when asking questions becausethey translate directly from their native language to English because we do not have auxiliariesin Spanish. We say “Ellos fuman cigarillos” and then we ask ¿Qué fuman ellos?. Thereforestudents will translate the question “What smoke they?” instead of “What do they smoke?” as aresult of L1 interference. At the same time, if they have to answer yes/no questions, they willanswer “Yes, they do” or No, they don’t” despite of the question is using the auxiliary verb to
 
 be. So, they overgeneralize the known rule of the auxiliary verb do/does when answering shortyes/no questions.*Scott Thornbury (1999) states that relaxing on accuracy simply acknowledges the fact that therules of grammar take a long time to establish themselves.The success depends on the kind of rule being explained. In this case, the teacher is a monitor of the learners’ degree of comprehension at every stage of the explanation, and respondingimmediately to any problems they might have. The grammar explanation is also very easy, inthat it involves few if any materials and requires little or no preparation. It is therefore probablyone of the most efficient ways of dealing with grammar problems that might arise in the courseof a lesson as a result, fro example of a student’s error.*Scott Thornbury, (1999),
 How to Teach Grammar 
, Pearson Education Limited, (England)
Conclusion.
The teacher should focus on form and provide activities that promote awareness of grammar.These activities need that the teacher corrects the errors during the class and not only during atest.As a consequence, the students confuse the auxiliary verbs among them because they onlymemorize rules, but the teacher does not provide the time for correct errors and practiceexercises during the class. The students only realized their errors after the test and they get amark, however they do not understand why their answers are wrong.One way of correctness is to write the correct version on the whiteboard. Say the sentence atalmost normal speed. Underline or otherwise highlight the relevant parts. Beside each sentenceinclude a drawing to aid memory and enjoyment. This allows further input. Drawings arealways fun and encourage participation. Chat and elicit vocabulary, spelling, etc. from studentswhile drawing. Elicit another example for the whiteboard from a student. 
Discussion.
I had problems collecting data because the teacher promised to me to bring tests of the students, but he finally did not give it to me. So, due to I reinforce some of the students on Wednesdays Iapplied a handout, but a few of them came to the school that they. I think the main responsiblefor the students’ learning process is the teacher in this case, because if students confuse theauxiliary verbs is due to he does not like the students do grammar exercises during the class. Heexplains the same topic every week, but he does not check if the learners noticed their mistakes

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