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Language Learner


Names: Natalia Cuevas P.
Laura Medina F.

Teacher: Mabel Ortíz N.

Concepción, June 14th 2017


2.1. Learner’s Background 4
2.2. Instruments 4
2.2.1. Background Questionnaire 4
2.2.2. Interview (Tasks) 5 Interview Transcription 6
2.2.3. Procedure 7
3.1. General Analysis 7
3.2. Phonetics and Phonology 8
3.2.1. Selected Extract Lines 19, 20, 21 8
3.2.2. Phonetic Transcription Lines 19, 20, 21 8
3.2.3. Analysis and Examples 8 Analysis 9
3.3. Lexical Analysis 11


The acquisition of English as a second language has always been a very
difficult subject for Chilean students, despite nowadays it is much easier to acquire a
second language than in the past years.. This English Language Learning Profile is
designed in order to detect the most common mistakes made by an ordinary Chilean
student. The background questionnaire was used to analyze how the student has
developed her competence and abilities in English through her life. However,
considering the well-known results of the SIMCE, we realize that students have a very
few progress in learning a SL. For that reason, we considered this Learner’s profile
has a huge help to understand the mistakes that a student can made, and how we as
future teachers can help them to overcome those and make a better acquisition of the
In this occasion we interview a 24 years old student of Universidad de
Concepción, considering that she told us she has not attending formal classes of
English since she left the high school. Furthermore, we thought it was very useful for
the purpose of this research, and also we could focus our attention in the most
common errors that the interviewee made and give advices to improve her
performance in English.


2.1 Learner’s background

This Language Learner Profile is based on an interview that was applied to a
24 year old female student of nursing. The subject describes herself as someone who
does not have enough knowledge about English language. Besides, she tells us that
her classes of English start at fifth grade based on particular tenses as present simple
(verb to be), prepositions and basic vocabulary (colors).
Moreover, the class environment did not allow students to produce their own
learning, there was not instance to practice speaking or writing, the classes were
focused primarily on grammar. Her process of learning at high school were only
focused on grammar, she indicate that she does not learn like was MINEDUC
supposed to be learned.
During her performance at the University, she points out that she do not have
any subject related to learn a foreign language, that is way she makes emphasis on
tell that the major part of his knowledge of english was acquired on her own, through
watch movies, series or listen to music.

2.2 Instruments

2.2.1 Background questionnaire

The background questionnaire that was answered by the subject interviewed
was mostly related to the academic aspects of her. Furthermore, the objective was to
get personal information about her process of learning. Due to this reason, we applied
it in Spanish for build a good environment and also make easier to the interviewee to
provide us an extensive and detailed description of her classes at school, and discover
her relationship and experiences with this second language.
We asked three questions oriented to her personal information and then, we
asked her 4 more questions, all referred to her involvement with English as a SL. We
used this information to create a Learner's background in order to present an academic
profile of our interviewee.

2.2.2 Interview (Tasks)

After asking the background questions in Spanish, we made eight questions in
English which were focused on her interests, daily routine, and personal information.
The tasks was made in English for both sides (the interviewee and the
interviewer), with the purpose that the interviewee could speak in English fluently and
have material to analyze her performance. The English production is the most
important part because we have to analyze the answers that she gives us in terms of
pronunciation and vocabulary.

5 Interview Transcription


1. Do you like English? Why? 1
Yes, I like english because ehh… very useless? useful emm… ‘cause you can speak 2

english in very, every country in the world. 3

2. What do you like to do in your free time? 4
I don’t have free time, but emm… I like read/reading I like to read, eh… watch movies, 5

listen music, eh… “como se dice navegar en internet” (search on the internet) “es que 6
search es como muy buscar” “ver” videos, watch videos on youtube, ehhh I don’t know, 7
cook (laugh) sometimes eh draw emm.... “que más hago” … sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep all 8
the time sleep. 9
3. What is your favorite movie? Why? And what it is about? 10
“está difícil” I think could be harry potter (why) i don't know (laugh) “de verdad no sé por 11
qué” (ok, and what is it about?) Harry Potter is about the magical world oh eh… “como 12
se puede decir ehm… ay no se como puedo redactar eso” ehm… its about a boy who 13
don’t know about the history? history, he discover eh… that he is a magician eh.. 14
and its very fun (laugh). 15
4. Which of the four English skills (listening, reading, writing and speaking) is the 16
easiest for you?
Reading, absolutely reading “si se nota” (laugh) 17
5. Did you have plans to winter vacations? 18
Mmm… no, I don’t have plans for now. 19
6. How do you do to arrive at the University every day? 20
“ah eso no se como decirlo” (you take one bus or two) “ah ya” I take one bus, bu eh.. for 21
ten minutes more or less “creo que asi se dice” eh… that’s all. 22
7. Do you think English is useful? Why? 23
Yes, is very useful (why) eh “bueno” eh… for the university I have to read a lot a lot a lot 24
of papers in english … “que como puedo decir”... that that? I don’t found in Spanish (so 25
you have to translate) translate for the my investigations ehh… and etc (laugh). 26
8. What do you like the most about your life? 27
Em… “oye esa es pregunta existencial” mmm… “como se dice… lo que me gusta más) 28
(em the thing I like the most…) the thing I like the most in my life is… that I can… em… 29
drive my life like I want (laugh) eh... without ah… without limitation… and… that (laugh) 30

2.2.3 Procedure

Firstly we interview a 21 years old student of engineering from Universidad
Católica de la Santísima Concepción, friend of one of the interviewers. However, after
review his answers we realized that it were too short, consequently we cannot analyze
them properly. Nonetheless, we choose another person who is a 24 years old student
of nursing from Universidad de Concepción that has a mayor knowledge of English
and could produce larger sentences in the target language.
The interview was made a Thursday afternoon after she finish her classes. We
started explain what the interview was about. Besides, we introduce the background
questions in Spanish for create a comfortable environment and she could speak freely.
We recorded the speech in a cell phone device, and it lasts eleven minutes and forty
nine seconds (11:49).


3.1 General analysis
During the process of creation of the interview, we based the questions in
general information to make the interview more comfortable for the interviewee and
she could express her ideas freely. The first and most evident aspects we can observe
is the fact that she does not express herself fluently, for she is constantly chunking her
sentences, although she seems to be very concentrate during the interview. Moreover,
she presents a clear interference of her L1 that is why she mostly use a basic
vocabulary and a lack of connectors.
Additionally, we have to mention that she recognize to be a little anxious and
nervous for expressing herself in the target language, because she has not frequent
opportunities to practice a foreign language openly.


3.2.1 Selected Extract Lines

I like english because very useless line 2

its about a boy who don’t know about the history line 13-14

translate for the my investigations line 26

3.2.2 Phonetic transcription lines 2, 13-14, 26

2. | ˈaɪ 'laɪk ˈɪŋɡlɪʃ bɪˈkɒz ˈveri ˈjuːsləs |

13-14. | ɪts əbaʊt ə ˌbɔɪ huː dəʊnt nəʊ əˈbaʊt ˈhɪstr̩i |

26. | trænzleɪt fə ðə maɪ ɪnvestɪɡeɪʃənz |

3.2.3 Analysis and examples

Word Learner’s British Number of line
pronunciation pronunciation

Useless ˈdʒːusləs ˈjuːsləs 2

Don’t dɔnt dəʊnt 14

History ɪstɔr̩i ˈhɪstr̩i 14

Translate trænzleɪd trænzleɪt 26

Investigations ɪnvestɪɡeɪdʒɔns ɪnvestɪɡeɪʃənz 26 Analysis

The most common problems that are presented in this LLP consist in the
influence that has the L1 in terms of producing the SL. A learner could be confused at
the moment of producing words in English because exists some variations between
the Spanish and English alphabet. As consequence, the subject tries to produce the
sound that consider most similar to her mother tongue.

We have to considered that Spanish have five vowels only: a,e,i,o,u (Salcedo
2010). While in English exists twelve vowels sounds; for that reason is mostly common
that a learner could make this kind of mistake in order to try to produce a similar sound
to her L1.

Examples Explanation

Word 1: Don’t Here the problem deals with the
Student’s: dɔnt production of the diphthong əʊ. We know
British: dəʊnt this sound is not produce in Spanish,
that’s why the learner tend to produce a
similar sound to the Spanish vowel o and
in this case produce ɔ.

Word 2: History Here the learner avoid the
Student’s: ɪstɔr̩i pronunciation of the ɔ sound, we do not
British: ˈhɪstr̩i know why, but we infer that it must be an
error produce by nervous and anxiety.

Word 3: Investigations Here we can realize that the
Student’s: ɪnvestɪɡeɪdʒɔnz learner produce the ɔ sound instead of
British: ɪnvestɪɡeɪʃənz schwa ə, this happen because in
Spanish the schwa sound does not
exists. Besides the word is a cognate
with the Spanish version
investigaciones, that’s why the student
tend to produce a similar sound to
Spanish replacing for an o sound.

Another aspect to consider is the mispronunciation of final S and the consonant
H, since we know that Spanish speakers tend to avoid the final S sound and the H
sound is not pronounced. Having this in mine we can justified these problems.
Finally the dʒ sound is not produced in Spanish so we were very surprised
when we realized that the interviewee can produce this sound, even though was not
the correct one in that specific word as we explain here:

Example Explanation

Word: Useless Here we have a very particular mistake,
Student’s: dʒːusləs because the learner produce the dʒ that
British:ˈjuːsləs does not exist in Spanish. We tend to
think the british pronunciation is, in fact,
less complex to produce that the
consonant dʒ. However this represents
for us, that the learner is aware of
English phonemes and have an acquire
capacity to produce it.

3.3 Lexical Analysis

During the analysis, we found several mistakes related to vocabulary; In some
cases the student knew what she wanted to say, but she was nervous that she had to
say those words in Spanish.

Line Answer Analysis

5-6-7-8-9 ehh.. I don’t have free time, but In this answer we can see the
emm… I like read/reading (to read) I used of the L1. This problem is
like to read, eh… watch movies, related to the lack of vocabulary
to completed the idea of the
listen music, eh… “como se dice
navegar en internet” (search on the Additionally, we are in presence
internet) “es que ser es como muy of hesitation issue.
buscar” “ver” videos, watch videos on Furthermore, this problem
youtube, ehhh I don’t know, cook occurs when the speaker's
(laugh) sometimes eh draw emm.... attention is concentrated on the
“que más hago” … sleep, sleep, content of one’s speech (what
to say next) rather than on its
sleep, sleep all the time sleep.
form of the speech. (Romero-
Trillo, 2008)

24-25-26 Yes, is very useful (why) eh… In this case, we are in presence
“bueno” eh… for the university I have of an issue that is related to the
to read a lot a lot a lot of papers in influence of her L1, due to the
fact that speakers of Spanish
english … “que como puedo decir”...
tend to omit the subject. This
that that? I don’t found in Spanish (so occurs because L1 background
you have to translate) translate for usually influences the
the my investigations ehh… and etc performance of the learner
(laugh) when it is using L2 for
speaking.(Schreuder &
Weltens, 1993)

hesitation Spanish subject missing


In this section we are going to propose some strategies that we considered
useful to help our learner to improve her performance in the L2. The student hesitates
exaggeratedly during the interview, making different grammatical and phonetic errors.
According to Samira Al Hosni (2014) in her work “Speaking Difficulties Encountered
by Young EFL Learners”, she identifies some factors that cause problems to non-
native English speakers at the moment of speaking. Nonetheless, we have not only
selected those strategies according to the mistakes that we found in her speech, but
also having in mind the interests of the interviewee in order to make her feel more
involved in her process of acquiring the L2.

Firstly, according to the interviewee the easiest skill for her was reading,
probably she may take advantage of it and acquire more vocabulary. As stated in “Ten
best ideas for teaching vocabulary” Paul Nation mentioned that implementing an
extensive reading program the learners improve their vocabulary.

For the learner phonetics difficulties, we suggest the use of the Audiolingual
Method by Skinner. This means that the interviewee has to listening the correct
pronunciation of the word, and then start to repeat the word to achieve the perfect
pronunciation. Moreover, if someone is monitoring the activity, it is recommended to
add a Positive Reinforcement (Skinner, 1957)


As a general overview, it can be said the interviewee performance presented a
basic use of L2, considering that the learner has been studying English at school. After
analyzing her phonetic and lexical mistakes from the interview, we could notice
problems that the student presents at the moment of speaking are mostly hesitation
and lack of vocabulary. She has difficulties to acquire and improve her English skill,
for this reason, we propose strategies to improve her performance in the L2.
Furthermore, the aim of the learner’s profile is analyze the problems and difficulties in
order to acquire a L2. As futures teachers, it is our responsibility to identify those
problems in our classroom, and find different methods for the acquisition of English


Al Hosni, S. (2014). Speaking Difficulties Encountered by Young EFL Learners.
Laufer, B. Meara, P. Nation, P.(2005) Ten best ideas for teaching vocabulary.

Romero-Trillo, J. (Ed.). (2008). Pragmatics and corpus linguistics: A mutualistic
entente (Vol. 2). Walter de Gruyter.

Salcedo, C. S. (2010). The phonological system of Spanish. Revista de lingüística y
lenguas aplicadas, 5(1), 195-209. Retrieved June 12, 2017 from

Schreuder, R., & Weltens, B. (1993). The bilingual lexicon (Vol. 6). John Benjamins

Skinner, B. F. (1957). Verbal behavior. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.