A Research on Language Transfer in Oral English Speaking

Essay by chenlu6268 September 2014

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A Research on Language Transfer in Oral English Speaking

(陈璐 2011级英美文学 2011111103000537)

1. Introduction

In second language learning, an increasing importance has been attached to Language Transfer, which is also known as cross-linguistic influence. Transfer, in psychology, refers to the process of automatic, uncontrolled and subconscious use of previous knowledge being extended to the area of new knowledge. And according to the behaviorist view, the acquisition of language is a process, during which habits are being formed, and the SLA is the outcome of old habits of the learners' native language interfering with the new habits of L2 (Fries,1945). In other words, learning a second language is not a brand new activity to the learners, instead, they tend to transfer the characteristics of their native languages and cultures into the foreign languages and cultures that they are learning. Many linguists believe that any of the problems in L2 acquisition could not be interpreted clearly without the consideration of language transfer.

According to the similarities and differences between the native language and the target language, language transfer is chiefly divided into two separate groups; they are positive transfer and negative transfer. In L2 teaching and learning, positive transfer is the process in which mother tongue has a positive effect on L2 learning and can help the students to comprehend and master the target language faster, while the negative transfer occurs when the L2 learners use their previous mother tongue experience or knowledge different from those of the target language as a means of organizing the L2 data, which may hinder the foreign language learning and lead to errors. Both the two types have greatly influenced the efficiency of language learning, but people concentrate more on the latter one.

With the development of globalization, English is more and more widely...