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1 Language Transfer Lan-Hsin Chang National Kaohsiung University of Applied Sciences.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Language Transfer Lan-Hsin Chang National Kaohsiung University of Applied Sciences."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Language Transfer Lan-Hsin Chang National Kaohsiung University of Applied Sciences

2 2 I. Behaviorist Views Stimuli and responses Complex behaviors—component parts  effective learning Habit formation; analogy Impediment to learning: interference from prior knowledge Degree of difficulty: positive and negative transfer Errors expected; should be avoided

3 3 Behaviorist Views--II Chomsky’s (1959) review of Skinner’s Verbal Behavior Animal behavior in the lab vs. humans language behavior Value of correction/reinforcement? Reconsideration of L1 in L2 learning

4 4 II. Terminology Transfer: influence resulting from the similarities and differences between the target language and any other language that has been previously (and perhaps imperfectly) acquired (Odlin 1989:27)

5 5 III. The Manifestations of Transfer Errors (negative transfer): transfer or intralingual errors? Facilitation (positive transfer); U- shaped behavior Avoidance: infrequent use or avoidance? Over-use: e.g., overgeneralization of the regular past tense inflection

6 6 IV. Contrastive Analysis—1 Difference = difficulty Contrastive Analysis Hypothesis (CAH) (Lado 1957) include steps of description, selection, comparison, and prediction Types/hierarchy of difficulty in L2: (more difficult) split — new — absent — coalesced — correspondence (less difficult) (p. 307)

7 7 IV. Contrastive Analysis—2 1. Strong form: errors can be predicted 2. Weak form: some are traceable; a posteriori explanation Strong form: theoretically untenable Work form: impractical/inadequate Lost ground to error analysis in the 1970s

8 8 V. The Minimalist Position--1 Emphasize the universal processes of language learning

9 9 V. The Minimalist Position--2 A. Interference in language contact situations and second language acquisition Interference in bilinguals: social factors; bidirectional; increased with proficiency in the two languages Interference in language learning: not motivated by social factors; unidirectional; decreased as the learner became more proficient (Dulay & Burt, 1972)

10 10 V. The Minimalist Position--3 Borrowing transfer (L2  L1) vs. substratum transfer (L1  L2): not always clear-cut

11 11 V. The Minimalist Position--4 B. Empirical research and the CAH Not easy to distinguish interference errors from developmental errors Error tokens vs. error types (Kellerman 1987)

12 12 V. The Minimalist Position--5 C. Word order studies of transfer Reasons for relatively few instances of basic word order transfer (Odlin 1990): 1. relative lack of research on beginner learners (most likely to have word order transfer) 2. highly conscious of word order (involves arrangement of semantically important elements)

13 13 V. The Minimalist Position--6 D. Minimalist theoretical positions on transfer: the similarity between L2 and L1 acquisition interference reflected ignorance of the L2 (Newmark & Reibel 1968) L1 transfer  communication strategy (a means of overcoming a communication problem) Not learning strategy (a device for developing interlanguage) transfer rejected  transfer relocated within a cognitive framework

14 14 VI. Constraints on Transfer-- 1 Language level: pronunciation, lexis, discourse, and grammar (less affected)

15 15 VI. Constraints on Transfer --2 Sociolinguistic factors the social context: focused (e.g., classroom settings) vs. unfocused contexts (e.g., natural settings)  macro- sociolinguistic perspective the relationship between the speaker and the addressee: careful vs. vernacular styles  micro-sociolinguistic perspective

16 16 VI. Constraints on Transfer --3 Markedness: core (unmarked) vs. periphery (marked) rules Hypotheses: unmarked L1 forms more likely be transferred to correspondingly marked L2 forms marked L1 forms less likely be transferred to correspondingly unmarked L2 forms

17 17 VI. Constraints on Transfer --4 Markedness Differential Hypothesis (Eckman 1977) more marked forms in TL than in the NL are difficult to language learners - vagueness of ‘markedness’

18 18 VI. Constraints on Transfer --5 Prototypicality (Kellerman 1977; 1978; 1979; 1986; 1989) native speakers’ intuitions to determine the unmarkedness or prototypicality of lexical items learners resist transferring non- prototypical meanings

19 19 VI. Constraints on Transfer --6 Language distance and psychotypology (learners’ perceptions about language distance) the actual language distance affects positive transfer learners’ psychotypology governs what they actually transfer

20 20 VI. Constraints on Transfer --7 Developmental factors The learner’s general level of development restructuring continuum: L1 (starting point of L2) Natural principles of language acquisition interlanguage not necessarily a restructuring continuum, except phonology

21 21 VII. Towards a theory of first language transfer Communication transfer: borrowing (a performance phenomenon not a learning process) (Corder 1983); production and comprehension transfer Learning transfer: transfer  a process of hypothesis construction and testing A framework for explaining first language transfer (p. 339)

22 22 VIII. Conclusion: problems in the study of transfer Difficult to distinguish communication transfer from learning transfer

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