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Assignment – FP005 TP

NEGATIVE TRANSFER IN ENGLISH LEARNING

(SEGMENTAL PROBLEMS)

Assignment:
FP005 Teaching pronunciation

Student’s name:
Ricardo Rendy Ramírez Muñoz

Group:

fp_tefl_2017-10_unini

October, 2018

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Assignment – FP005 TP

Introduction

According to Bardovi-Harlig & Sprouse (2018) in the context of non-native


language acquisition or use, transfer broadly refers to the influence of the learner’s
native language. When the influence of the native language leads to errors in the
acquisition or use of a target language, we say that negative transfer or interference
occurs. When the influence of the native language leads to immediate or rapid
acquisition or use of the target language, we speak of positive transfer or facilitation.
Negative transfer is also common in the domain of pragmatics, where the native and
the target languages have divergent conditions for appropriate use of translational
equivalents.

This occurs during the process of acquisition of a new language but it is


necessary evident which are the negative transfer in 35 students between 8 to 10 years
with a beginner level of English in a public school of Bogota, Colombia. They are
immersed in a bilingual program that just beginning and present negative transfer in the
pronunciation of segmental or some consonants. Taking in mind this will be examined
the negative transfer of two segmental sounds, in this case the confusion sounds
between /b/ and /v/ and /s/ and /z/ that in Spanish sounds similar and in English exists
a clear difference that can change the meaning of a word or produce misunderstanding
in a conversation.

To give more wide explanation of the problems with these segments it is


necessary bear in mind that all consonants are produced by entirely or almost entirely
stopping the airstream coming from the lungs. In their book The English Language:
From Sound to Sense Delahunty, G. & Garvey, J. (2010. p. 89) explain that consonants
are classifying according to the following characteristics: (a) whether or not the vocal
folds are vibrating (voicing); (b) whether the sound is made with a fully stopped or
merely constricted airstream (its manner of articulation); (c) where in the mouth the
stoppage or constriction is made (its place of articulation); (d) whether or not air is
flowing through the nasal cavity (nasality); and (e) whether or not the lips are pursed
(lip-rounding). It is necessary taking this in mind to explain what is the difference of
these sounds in English and Spanish. These characteristics help us to explain in terms
of phonetic and phonological where are the problems.

The negative transfer in English learning between the segments /b/ and /v/

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Assignment – FP005 TP

The principal problem to distinguish these sounds is that in Spanish does not
exist a difference, both sounds are bilabial voice and the negative transfer occurs when
learners reproduce the same sound with the /v/ in English that is labiodental.

A phonology explanation of /b/ sound is that this consonant is bilabial and


plosive in Spanish and English, in other words, both lips are closed and stop the air
and with a quick movement the air goes out and produces the sound. Among the
characteristics are that the /b/ sound is voiced or is produced with vibrating vocal folds;
the flow of air stops somewhere in the oral cavity between the vocal folds and the lips,
that means that the manner of articulation is classified such as stops; the place of
articulation is bilabial, It is not nasality because does not vibrate the nasal cavity. In
phonetic terms this sound is identify with /b/ symbol to both languages.

The phonology explanation of /v/ sound is that this consonant according to the
place and the manner of articulation is labiodental fricative in English and bilabial and
plosive in Spanish. Among the characteristics are that the /v/ sound is voiced, in
English the place of articulation is labiodental, in other words, the sound are made by
bringing the top teeth into contact with the bottom lip and forcing air between the two to
create the fricatives, and it is not nasality sound. In phonetic terms this sound is
identify with /v/ symbol to English and /b/ symbol to Spanish.

The negative transfer in English learning between the segments /s/ and /z/

The problem with these two segments consists in that Spanish (in American
countries nor Spain) both segments sounds similar but in English is different.

The phonology explanation of /s/ is that in both language Spanish and English is
voiceless does not produce vibration, its manner of articulation is fricative (obstruction
of air but no stop of it), the place of articulation is alveolar sounds because is made by
bringing the tongue and the alveolar ridge (the bony ridge just behind the top teeth). In
phonetic terms this sound is identify with /s/ in both language.

The phonology explanation of /z/ sound is that this consonant according to the
place and the manner of articulation is in English and Spanish alveolar fricative,
according to the vibration of vocal folds in spanish is voiceless an in English is voiced

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Assignment – FP005 TP

this is the unique difference. In phonetic terms the symbol of this sound is /s/ to
Spanish and /z/ to English.

Brinton’s variables in teaching pronunciation.

Taking in mind the five variables proposed by Brinton (1995) quoted by Ball (n.d.
p 86) that consider the conditions of learner, teacher, institution and the methodology is
necessary to contextualize to understand how the pronunciation will be taught.

First of all, the Learner variable, the age has its advantages, in this case, the
students do not present fossilization and it is more simple and direct give them
feedback, learners in this stage of life want to participate (good aptitude) and have no
prejudices, they are more visual, kinesthetic and acoustic (learning styles) and this can
use to learn vocabulary and pronunciation through songs, dances or rounds (using
parts of body or actions for example) and games.

The Second, setting variable that consists in the access of the language outside
of the classroom, in this case the context it is no natural to learn a new language
because they should not have interchange language or interactive communication in
target language out of the class, but it is important to take advantage of internet and
the uses of cell phones to learn or see videos to reinforce vocabulary in home.

the third, institutional variables, in this case the school has an immersion room
and material in English such as books and audios, It counts with different accessories
of technology to have connection through Wifi that is use to put songs or show a short
video to the class. Exists a collection of books and tales, puppets to presentations, to
descriptions or to practice dialogues in class.

the fourth, linguistic variables in this variable is important mention that the first
thing to try to do the children is compare a segment of the native language with the
new, this happens when they try to express a word and use the first sounds of the word
in their native language because they forget or do not know the word in English.

Finally, the fifth, methodological variables, in this point and in the way to the
last researches the best way to learn pronunciation is through complete words and not

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Assignment – FP005 TP

with isolate sounds. The words are teaching in context, around a topic and practice in
different exercise, the principal approach of the institution is communicative.

Bear in mind these variables it is time to address the approach of teaching


according to Dalton and Seidlhofer quoted by Ball (n.d. p. 84)

Exposure, Exercise and Explanation

This procedural option was proposed by Dalton and Seidlhofer (1994) to


teaching pronunciation. It consists of three steps, in the first procedure does not exist
explicit attention on specific feature of pronunciation, either segmental or
suprasegmental, that means that the student familiarize with the sounds, rhythm and
forms of the words through imitation, therefore, the students can repeat the rhythm of
words and use their body to imitate actions or point parts of body, indirectly they learn
new vocabulary. This can do it through songs, rounds and small rhymes.

In the second step students can focus on sound finding the differences between
both forms because in this moment teacher provides practice in perception and
production, in this stage is useful use chunks of text to do shadow reading where
students follow the lecture and mark the target sound or listening through tongue
twister games that include these difficult sounds to Spanish learners after that they
repeat them, for example with /b/ and /v/ sound can be:

Victor and Vivian are rivals. Both vow to love Eve forever. But Eve is very vain,
Vivienne is vivacious and full of verve. Eventually, Victor gives Eve up and goes over to
Vivienne, leaving Eve to Vivian.

and with /s/-/z/ can be these two exercises:

some spinsters several mice a saw a saucer seven sausages


Sue and Cecily are sisters.
Sue is sixteen this summer, Cecily was seventeen last Sunday
Sue is sowing grass seed.
She sees Cecily asleep with a glass of cider and a nice sixpenny ice by her side.
Sue slips across, sips the glass of cider and eats the ice.

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Assignment – FP005 TP

a zoo cages prison bars a zebra a zebu daisies


Zoe is visiting the zoo.
A lazy zebra called Desmond is dozing at the zoo.
He feels flies buzzing around his eyes, ears and nose.
He rouses, opens his eyes, rises and goes to Zoe.
Zoe is wearing a rose on her blouse. Zoe

Finally, the third step refers to the explanation of the sound and that can include
pictures of the movement of tongue and the position of lips to produce the sound. This
part has the objective to increase the conscience about the movements and the
awareness about the sounds.

Conclusions

Transfer of the L1 can affect in a positive or negative way the acquisition of a new
language. It is positive where this help to students in their production but it is negative
where interfere in the correct form to produce a sound that can provoke
misunderstanding and confusion in the listeners and frustration in the speakers.

Phonology and phonetic help to understand in a better way what are the
mechanics of the language to produce correct sounds, the first explain the movement
of fonoarticulary system and the second the symbols that its sound can be represented
to reproduce without a direct reference.

The variables propose by Brinton help to identify the weak points in teaching
pronunciation taking in mind different elements such as the learners, the teachers and
the institution. This information serves to elaborate a plan to increase the possibilities
to contact with a new language and reduce the limits in the learning, moreover serves
to elaborate adequate activities to encourage learners better speaking abilities.

References

Ball, P. (n.d.) Teaching pronunciation. Chapter 9. teaching pronunciation-some


perspectives. FUNIBER.

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Assignment – FP005 TP

Bardovi-Harlig, K. & Sprouse, R. (2018) Negative Versus Positive Transfer. The


TESOL Encyclopedia of English Language Teaching. Retrieved from
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/9781118784235.eelt0084

Delahunty, G. & Garvey, J. (2010) The English Language: From Sound to Sense.
Chapter 4. Phonetics and Phonology. University of California, Santa Barbara.
Retrieved from https://wac.colostate.edu/docs/books/sound/sound.pdf