American linguist Selinker put forward the hypothesis- interlanguage in 1969. He believed there were five cognitive processes to construct interlanguange. They are language transfer, transfer of training, language learning strategy, and language communication strategy and overgeneralization of target language linguistic material.
I have some experiences regarding those aspects during my ten years’ English learning. As to the language transfer, I once equated “individualism” with “个人主义” in Chinese. Now I know they are different in the American and Chinese culture. For the second point, due to my first English teacher’ wrong instruction of pronunciation, I now still cannot pronounce some words correctly and I have to make great effort to overcome the problem.
Another example is that when I see a foreigner on a street, the greeting come to my mind is still “How are you?” No matter what the foreigner would answer, my answer to that would still be “I’m fine too, thank you!” The reason was that our former English textbooks (in junior and senior high) didn’t attach much importance to language communication. The strategy of learning language, according to Selinker, is some methods that students adopt to accumulate language rules. One middle school student I taught when I was his family teacher tended to memorize the simpler sentences.
For instance, when I taught him “That’s very kind of you” and “thank you”, he chose to remember the latter one. Communication strategy is that students use easy and practical notional words and omit function words. For example, some foreign students who are learning Chinese may say,“我去看他，他抽烟，看电视”, which means“我去看他时，他在抽着烟看电视”. Finally, if students over generalize target language linguistic material, they may make wrong sentences, like the following: — I like to play with childrens.
— It was very difficult to watered the plants.
— I like to drive bicycle.
Therefore, this hypothesis is practical in helping language learners to aware their problems that may occur during learning process. Moreover, it demonstrates its significance in a way second language teachers could apply it to their instruction experience.
Courtney from Study Moose
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