Papers and Studies in Contrastive Linguistics, Volume 5

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It can also be viewed in a broad sense, where CA compares two or more languages which need not be socio-culturally or genetically related. In his book Contrasting Languages. According to him, the origin of contrastive studies can be traced back to the 11th century A. However, in its current form, most scholars agree that modern CA began in the mids. As Fisiak a: puts it, the Second World War aroused a great interest in foreign language learning, whereby CA emerged as an important part of foreign language teaching methodology. The two prominent scholars were then Charles Fries and Robert Lado, who sketched the CA program as follows: The most efficient materials are those that are based upon a scientific description of the language to be learned, carefully compared with a parallel description of the native language of the learner, Fries 9.

The plan of the book rests on the assumption that we can predict and describe the patterns which will cause difficulty in learning, and those that will not cause difficulty, by comparing systematically the language and culture to be learned with the native language and culture of the student, Lado p. According to this definition, contrastive linguistics deals with pairs of languages such as Spanish and Basque, but not with Latin and the Australian language Dyirbal, as there is no socio-cultural link between these languages.

Robert Lado, who was influenced by Fries but also by his personal background,2 strongly advocates a systematic comparison of L1 and L2 and their cultures. Nevertheless, one should bear in mind, as Fisiak a: reminds us, that before the mids, the early published contrastive studies where predominantly theoretical — the applied aspect was rather peripheral. The evolution and different phases of CL 2. The task of the linguist, the cultural anthropologist, and the sociologist is to identify these differences.

The task of the writer of a foreign language teaching program is to develop materials which will be based on a statement of these differences; the task of the foreign language teacher is to be aware of these differences and to be prepared to teach them; the task of the student is to learn them. On the one hand, some contrastive linguists had exaggerated some of their claims strong version , and on the other hand some teachers had expected too much from this new field.

These successive shifts had then rhymed with a latent decline of CA facing virulent criticisms. As a matter of fact, many difficulties predicted by CA do not show up in actual learner performance and many errors occurring in learner performance are not predicted by CA. The underlying idea is that L1 interference is only one of the sources of errors, many problems are not language specific and can be related to psychological, pedagogical, as well as other extra-linguistic factors.

Although transfer is not the single cause of language learning difficulties, it can however hardly be denied as a major one.

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Lennon 51 3. James Gilquin and Granger , among others. The errors in this sentence are related to different grammatical levels i. As for the lexicon, instead of using the noun story in English, the speaker uses history, which is unexpected in this context. This word has probably been employed due to the influence of the French word histoire, which has two equivalents in English: history and story.

Contrary to French, in English the word story, which can have a modalization effect and an intra-linguistic reference5, is opposed to history essentially referring to past events or a discipline. Beyond the fact that interference seems to be a key factor in L2 acquisition and in response to criticism regarding error prediction and their non-occurrence, many studies7 substantiate that the non-occurrence of an error does not invalidate the prediction. This phenomenon may even confirm the predictive power of CA in the sense that it can provide evidence that learner avoid problematic structures and areas of difficulties.

Therefore CA has to be viewed as one component among many other L2 methodologies. Facing this reality, the original CA hypothesis went through a decline in the s and saw the emergence of other approaches such as Error analysis EA and Interlanguage Analysis IA to address language learning difficulties.

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Contrastive Linguistics

Khansir Khansir Its methodology, as elaborated by Corder , consists of five major steps: i the selection of a corpus of language L2 or L3 production of students , ii the identification of errors in the corpus, iii the classification of identified errors, iv the explanation of the causes of the errors, and v the evaluation of the errors.

Based on this new orientation, instead of a pure predictive role, CA is assigned an explanatory role for language acquisition. In addition to interlanguage errors, which had been the main or even unique focus of CA, EA has the advantage to deal with many other types of errors. It brings to light intra-language and extra-linguistic errors related to overgeneralization or teaching and learning strategies. The creed has since been this: EA focuses on attested errors from authentic data, while CA deals with competence and theoretical issues8. Yet, as the latter, the former does have limitations.

According to Johansson , EA hypothesis can be criticized on both its methodological procedures and theoretical problems which are mainly related to difficulties of identifying, quantifying, and explaining errors. Firstly, the ways learner corpora are built are still diverging from one study to another nature of data collection and the selection of informants.

Therefore, trying to draw statistically significant findings from such samples may be a questionable practice. Secondly, Dulay et al. Furthermore, according to Schachter and Murcia , the analysis of errors in isolation focuses on errors and hence excludes the rest of the data from consideration.

As EA concentrates too much on errors, it investigates less the whole performance of the learner. Therefore, in this perspective one can claim that EA too is not in a position to identify all the learning difficulties. Strong CA proponents might argue here that learners usually avoid the most 5. Among which James , Schachter and Fisiak b.

Krzeszowski For example, if learners do not produce any passive verb forms, EA cannot state whether they have mastered the passive or not. Interestingly, Gilquin , following Granger and examining the use of the passive form in learners discourse, points out that in comparing varieties of learner English, it turns out that the underuse of the passive is not limited to French-speaking learners or Swedish- and Finnish-speaking learners as in Granger The phenomenon occurs in the production of learners from various L1 backgrounds.

Therefore, Gilquin postulates that the underuse of the passive seems to be a universal feature of interlanguage, in the sense that learners generally prefer unmarked forms than marked ones. Another interesting case is the use of relative clauses. However, the analysis also reveals that, in the data, the Japanese and Chinese learners use fewer relative clauses than Arabic- speaking and Persian-speaking learners. So here again, one can clearly see that errors may not tell the whole story, avoidance will always be looming in learner interlanguage, as Lennon puts it.

This claim gives credit to the idea that one does need to take into account the whole performance of learners in comparison to what native speakers do in a similar situation.


In this regard, since L1-L2 transfer has been recognized as a significant factor in language acquisition, CA regained credibility thanks to its predictive power and explanatory role. Eventually, the apparent limits of EA have given birth to the development of a new approach known as Interlanguage Analysis IA Hypothesis. As Granger 18 puts it, the globalization of society led to an increased awareness of the importance of interlingual and intercultural communication.


Here begins what we call the second phase of CA revival. While the original CA hypothesis is primarily concerned with the comparison of L1 and L2, EA and IA hypotheses, the latter more than the former, are more concerned with what language learners actually do throughout the learning process.

One of the goals of IA is to find out the features of nativeness and non-nativeness in the learner language. Moreover, in IA procedures, Spolsky suspects an inconsistency between a process and a competence model, viz. To summarize the evolution of CL, one can notice that from the original CA hypothesis where the focus is on learning difficulties to be predicted predictive approach , research moves to a diagnostic approach to figure out learner errors through learner productions, and then to a new approach where the whole learning process is under scrutiny.

So far, the question can be asked whether these three analytic methods are fundamentally opposed or rather complementary approaches of Contrastive Linguistics CL. They should be regarded as different approaches toward the same purpose. In its applied 9. Spolsky and Jie Contrary to what is often taken for granted10, these strategies are not mutually exclusive; they are rather converging methodologies.

Put differently, the three fields should be considered as different phases of the same continuum of CL with CA hypothesis and IA hypothesis standing at the two extremes, as Figure 1 illustrates. Figure 1 : Phases of CL evolution. Thus, the elements of the continuum are viewed as different fields of modern CL, yet with diverging methodologies and focus, but complementary and mutually reinforcing.

In these last decades, many studies, basically in corpus linguistics, have supported this view. The backbone of this approach is a process based on the comparison of learner data with a reference native corpus Native Language, NL vs. Interlanguage, IL on one side, with data produced by learners from different mother tongues and culture on the other IL vs. If the analysis reveals L1-specific errors, L1-L2 contrastive analysis is then needed for explanations cf.

Finally, when it comes to error explanation, there appears another converging point between the three fields. As Halliday suggests, once the errors have been collected, the analysis needs to be done in two ways: descriptively or comparatively. Starting in the 80s, instead of doing a pure applied research, some CL studies have taken up a more theoretical orientation.

Thus, Fisiak b: distinguishes theoretical contrastive studies from applied contrastive studies when he states that the former are performed for their own sake, while applied ones are performed for some pedagogical application. As a theoretical enterprise, CL systematically compares two or more languages in order to give an exhaustive account of the differences and similarities between them.

It also aims at providing and describing an adequate model for language comparison to give a framework of comparable areas, correspondence, equivalence. Dyson for example.

Languages in Contrast. International Journal for Contrastive Linguistics

According to him this method yields a simpler correction and can be used in language classes with students from different backgrounds. Another key theoretical issue is the notion of linguistic universal categories and how they are realized in the contrasted languages cf. Fisiak b. According to Fisiak b , applied CL studies are often inspired by the findings of theoretical CL ones and select whatever information is necessary for a specific purpose.

The former devotes more attention to surface representations than theoretical issues. Furthermore, as part of Applied Linguistics, applied CL is inspired by several other disciplines, including theoretical, descriptive and comparative linguistics, psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics, and psychology of learning and teaching cf. Considering the scopes of the two approaches, we can notice that the interest in language comparison extends beyond practical applications since it pinpoints what is general to languages and what is specific to a particular language.

Therefore, CL theoretical or applied contributes not only to the understanding and learning of languages in general, but also to the study of individual languages it compares. In this regards, CL stands as an interface between theory general descriptive linguistics, language typology or comparison and application EA and IA for instance. Moreover, CL is also dependent on descriptive linguistics since no comparison of languages or any elements is possible without their prior description.

From this perspective, Krzeszowski defines CL as: an area of linguistics in which a linguistic theory is applied to a comparative description of two or more languages, which need not be genetically or typologically related. The success of these comparisons is strictly dependent on the theory applied. In this definition, Krzeszowski clearly makes of theory the cornerstone of CL. Nevertheless, beyond theory and methodology, corpus-based approach is another converging factor between theoretical and applied CL, but also toward Translation Studies TS.

Nowadays, corpora are more and more crucial to all fields of linguistics and beyond. One of the weaknesses of early stages of linguistic studies is due to intuition-based judgments. With the emergence of corpus linguistics, CL has gained momentum through corpus data, which enable a more objective and reliable empirical investigation.

Given that some CL approaches focus on matters of performance, which requires authentic and more quantitative data, the use of multilingual corpora inevitably becomes an integral part of this discipline in few decades. Mostly adopting a cross-linguistic approach in the broad sense of the term , contrastive linguists employ the different types of corpora according to the purpose of their study.

In a more theoretical approach, CL can use comparable corpora containing original texts in two or more languages. The focus will be on unilingual texts sharing similar content and features in order to examine how a particular linguistic feature or cultural phenomenon is expressed in different languages. For this perspective, CL needs translation or parallel corpora, which consist of original texts in one language and their translations in another.

Papers And Studies In Contrastive Linguistics Volume 5 1976

When it comes to translation corpora, CL and TS cover a common ground and do converge. For instance, according to Chesterman p. The development of electronic corpora has a huge potential to bring together these fields. ICM brings together the three areas of CL, in the sense that it deals with all the three varieties of languages i. L1, L2 and interlanguage.

Papers and Studies in Contrastive Linguistics, Volume 5 Papers and Studies in Contrastive Linguistics, Volume 5
Papers and Studies in Contrastive Linguistics, Volume 5 Papers and Studies in Contrastive Linguistics, Volume 5
Papers and Studies in Contrastive Linguistics, Volume 5 Papers and Studies in Contrastive Linguistics, Volume 5
Papers and Studies in Contrastive Linguistics, Volume 5 Papers and Studies in Contrastive Linguistics, Volume 5
Papers and Studies in Contrastive Linguistics, Volume 5 Papers and Studies in Contrastive Linguistics, Volume 5
Papers and Studies in Contrastive Linguistics, Volume 5 Papers and Studies in Contrastive Linguistics, Volume 5
Papers and Studies in Contrastive Linguistics, Volume 5 Papers and Studies in Contrastive Linguistics, Volume 5
Papers and Studies in Contrastive Linguistics, Volume 5 Papers and Studies in Contrastive Linguistics, Volume 5
Papers and Studies in Contrastive Linguistics, Volume 5

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