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English Language 代写:Language Transfer A Ug Based Account

English Language 代写:Language Transfer A Ug Based Account

A major factor resulting in the sudden development in SLA studies in the last decades was previous work in first language acquisition (Ellis, 1992). One of the most important issues dealt with in this regard has been ‘language transfer’, an area of interest to both linguists and language methodologist for several years.

The earliest concern was that of the ‘structuralists’ who voiced the importance of investigating language learners’ errors as a means of gaining deeper insights into language learning. Along with this school of linguistics, ‘contrastive analysis’ (CA) was proposed which aimed at comparing the components of the languages being learned. Lado (1957) was a pioneer who believed that “by comparing the native language (its structures, its sounds, its lexis) and the target language, we would be able to find out about ease and difficulty of learning , and this belief was a kind of manifesto for what came to be called the contrastive analysis (CA) hypothesis” (Johnson, 2001, p. 60).

In the late 60th when CA emerged, there was a growing inertest in finding the causes of language transfer. Foreign language teachers faced the difficulties that language learners had in mastering a foreign language and sought to locate the sources of the errors observed frequently in language learners’ performance (See Corder, 1981). One major source of these errors, referred to as ‘interlingual errors’, was found to be the language learners’ first language. Later on, CA fell into disfavor as transformational-generative linguists questioned the theoretical foundation of the hypothesis. It was argued that CA hypothesis could not satisfactorily account for language transfer. The emergence of this idea was in line with the criticisms leveled at ‘structuralism’. Error Analysis (EA) replaced CA to overcome the problems inherent in the theoretical basis of CA, and the task was limited to observing and recording data based on which a number of taxonomies was proposed. However, EA was limited in scope since it was mainly concerned with observed errors of foreign language learners and as a result, it could not provide a comprehensive account of language transfer.

Tarone (1988) set up a number of criteria in evaluating theories on interlangauge variations which can apply to other theories as well. These criteria are ‘systematicity’, ’empirical verifiability’ and the ‘power to account for all the known facts’. She stated that “what is needed is a clear, consistent theory which ties all these causal factors together in a single coherent framework – not simply listing them, but showing their interrelationships – a theory which makes empirically verifiable claims” (1989, in Gass et al., p. 20). A reference will be made to these criteria later in the following discussion.

“Markedness Theory” was also proposed which was in line with Chomsky’s Universal Grammar. According to this theory, the degree of markedness can be an index of difficulty in acquiring the target language structures. Based on this account, the more marked a structure is, the more difficult it is to be acquired. As a result, it was possible to account for the errors observed in second language performance. However, one major problem with this theory was its being vague. Sometimes it is difficult, if not impossible, to differentiae ‘marked’ and ‘unmarked’ structure. This weakens the theory and as a result, it falls short of the criteria proposed by Tarone (1988) in that it cannot be empirically verified.