Second Language Acquisition: Language Transfer

Language Transfer (Pixabay)

In my  own experience  I was introduced  to  the term Second Language   Acquisition  when  I was about  to  finish my major in English Teaching , Since  that  time  I started digging  deeper  in  such a   fascinating  topic   and  terms.

Many  times  I have attempted  to  explain students  that  in  spanish  we  omit  pronouns   in  sentences  , for instance , I  can say  “Se  Inglés”  instead  of  Saying “Yo se Inglés ”  and it is perfectly  fine and  sometimes  students    whose mother   tongue is spanish  want to do the same thing  with English  and I have to remind  them  that English  doesn’t work the same way as  Spanish does.

Tonight   while reading   the term  Second Language Acquisition  in  Wikipedia  , I found  the term  Language Transfer and  I knew  that  the term  is  everything that I just explained  above.

This  is the  definition  found online:

In addition, some errors that second-language learners make in their speech originate in their first language. For example, Spanish speakers learning English may say “Is raining” rather than “It is raining”, leaving out the subject of the sentence. French speakers learning English, however, do not usually make the same mistake. This is because sentence subjects can be left out in Spanish, but not in French. This influence of the first language on the second is known as language transfer.

When the relevant unit or structure of both languages is the same, linguistic interference can result in correct language production called positive transfer — “correct” meaning in line with most native speakers’ notions of acceptability. Note, however, that language interference is most often discussed as a source of errors known as negative transfer. Negative transfer occurs when speakers and writers transfer items and structures that are not the same in both languages

Transfer may be conscious or unconscious. Consciously, learners or unskilled translators may sometimes guess when producing speech or text in a second language because they have not learned or have forgotten its proper usage. Unconsciously, they may not realize that the structures and internal rules of the languages in question are different. Such users could also be aware of both the structures and internal rules, yet be insufficiently skilled to put them into practice, and consequently often fall back on their first language.

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