Applied Linguistics Essay
Applied linguistics is an umbrella term that covers a wide set of numerous areas of study connected by the focus on the language that is actually used. The emphasis in applied linguistics is on language users and the ways in which they use languages, contrary to theoretical linguistics which studies the language in the abstract not referring it to any particular context, or language, like Chomskyan generative grammar for example. Interestingly even among applied linguists there is a difference of opinion as to the scope, the domains and limits of applied linguistics.
There are many issues investigated by applied linguists such as discourse analysis, sign language, stylistics and rhetoric as well as language learning by children and adults, both as mother tongue and second or foreign language. Correlation of language and gender, as well as the transfer of information in media and interpersonal communication are analyzed by applied linguists. Also forensic linguistics, interpretation and translation, together with foreign language teaching methodology and language change are developed by applied linguistics.
Shortly after the introduction of the term applied linguistics it was associated mainly with first,second and foreign language teaching, however nowadays it is seen as more interdisciplinary branch of science. Although in certain parts of the world language teaching remains the major concern of applied linguists, issues such as speech pathologies and determining the levels of literacy of societies, or language processing along with differences in communication between various cultural groups – all gain interest elsewhere.
In European Union the focus of applies linguistics is put on the issues connected with the language policy of this multilingual community. The primary aim is to keep the balance in fulfilling the need for lingua franca and maintaining smaller languages in order for them not to get devalued. This is a pressing matter as with the migration of people within the European Union and from outside its borders the mixture of languages is getting more and more complex. Therefore, the focus is also put on analyzing language attitudes, adopting common language policy, creating teaching textbooks and other materials.
As it can be seen there are many trends in applied linguistics, some interconnected, others not having too much in common. There are, however, some very general tendencies among applied linguists to put more effort on certain investigations such as languages of wider communication,corpus analysis, or critical applied linguistics. When it comes to languages of wider communication it is clear that with the increasing numbers of international travels and technological advances the need for an international language raises.
As English is the contemporary lingua franca applied linguists attempt to include language policy and planning in their interest, but is also concerned with analyzing language and identity, and special educational needs. Corpus analysis takes both quantitative and qualitative approach to the study of language and applied linguists’ focus of the identification of patterns of language use depending on social context, audiences, genres and settings.
Critical applied linguistics is interested in the social problems connected with language such as unemployment, illiteracy and pedagogy. Brown K. (Editor) 2005. Encyclopedia of Language APPLIED LINGUISTICS IN SECOND LANGUAGE ACQUISITION How Can Language Teachers Benefit from Applied Linguistics? Second language acquisition is one of the areas of study of Applied Linguistics. From long ago, linguists have been concerned about how people acquire languages and how teachers can teach them better.
According to Schmitt and Celce-Murssia, Applied Linguistics consists in using what we know about the language, how it is learned, and how it is used in order to achieve some purpose or to solve a problem in the real world. On account of this fact, there is a connection between linguistics and other fields such as Neurolinguistics and Psycholinguistics, all of which deal with the issues of language teaching and learning. When foreign language teachers start their career, they need to get familiar with the form of the target language.
In this way, they can handle the linguistic structures that comprise the target language such as syntax, semantics, morphology, pragmatics, phonology and phonetics. Nonetheless, the knowledge teachers get from the language is not enough. One of the most difficult aspects dealing with teaching is to choose the proper methodology and didactics which best suit the needs of the learners. Despite this, teachers must take other aspects into account such as language learning processes. A theory that deals with these processes is Contrastive Analysis
proposed by Robert Lado (1957). He states that foreign or second language learners tend to compare linguistic features between their mother tongue and the target language. The similarities (positive transference) between both languages will ease the foreign or second language learning, but the differences (interference) between the two systems can hinder the learning of the foreign or second language. This theory can help English teachers understand the internal mechanisms people use to process a foreign or second language.
Taking this into account, teachers must attempt to improve language teaching and to foster language learning through the appropriate instruction and language exposure. In this case, it is needed to make use of authentic materials and resources in the classes in order to help learners reduce their mistakes progressively. Linguistics is also connected with other fields such as Neurolinguistics and Psycholinguistics that have important insights in learning a foreign or second language. Neurolinguistics deals with the processes involved in language which take place in the brain of human beings.
Besides, it is interested in studying the phenomena related to mental illnesses which interfere with language understanding and production. In educational settings, teachers should have sound knowledge of how the brain works, as well as the possible causes and consequences that language disorders have in the learning process. When teachers become aware of these kinds of problems, they are able to implement different and appropriate strategies that address these disorders in order to foster the learning.
However; language is not just influenced by what takes place in the brain, but also by external factors which affect the linguistic competence, the linguistic performance, and the communicative competence of both speaker and hearer. For this reason, it is important to highlight the influence psycholinguistics has in second or foreign language learning. Psycholinguistics is interested in the way in which the mind deals with language, including matters such as how language is stored in the mind, and how language is understood and produced in real time (Bauer, L.2007).
Foreign language teachers must be aware that mental representations differ from speaker to speaker and not every individual processes and understands language the same way. Due to this fact, teachers must emphasize on the quantity and quality of interaction the students have in order to achieve the communicative act. The former is related to the amount of time students are exposed to the spoken and written language in the classroom.
The latter refers to how effective teaching is or has been as well as to how meaningful the type of material has been. To sum up, Applied Linguistics deals with practical problems and issues in language teaching and learning. Foreign language teachers can take advantage of the knowledge and insights gained from scientific investigations into the nature of language. As a result, they can solve some of the problems which may come up in the planning or implementation of language teaching programs.
Besides, these professionals can enrich their teaching when they become aware of the processes and the conditions inside and outside the learner, so that language understanding and language production can spring in a more effective way. Introduction There exist two different approaches for the identification of possible learning problems in the second language acquisition: contrastive analysis and error analysis. A number of proponents of an error analysis approach claim that contrastive analysis cannot serve as an adequate tool for identifying the areas of difficulty for learners of a second language.
But on the other hand, it has been noticed that error analysis is not able to explain the avoidance phenomenon, since error analysis registers only the errors done by learners of a second language (Schachter 1974). Avoidance behavior represents a communicative strategy of a learner of a second language by which the learner prefers using a simpler form instead of the target linguistic element for the reason of difficulty on the part of the target feature.
Consequently, avoidance behavior serves as a manifestation of learning problems, and its results should be definitely considered when compiling language syllabi and tests (Laufer and Eliasson 1993). And since error analysis does not consider and is not able to explain the avoidance phenomenon, it cannot be observed as an adequate approach for assisting teachers of a second language with learning materials. In this paper, we set a goal to compare contrastive analysis with the error analysis approach in respect of their treatment of avoidance behaviour.
We will consider several researches on avoidance behaviour and will show that contrastive analysis does predict the avoidance phenomenon in most cases and, therefore, gives a complete description of the areas of difficulty for learners of a second language. We suppose that we can come across the cases in which the avoidance phenomenon would not manifest itself although it has been predicted by contrastive analysis. In addition, we do not exclude the possibility to find the cases in which avoidance behaviour would come into being despite the negative predictions made on the basis of contrastive analysis.
In these both cases we will show that the predictions of contrastive analysis are necessary, but not sufficient f or the explanation of the avoidance behaviour. In order to submit sufficient information for the explanation of the avoidance phenomenon, supplemental information concerning various affective characteristics such as confidence, levels of anxiety, motivation, and risk-taking has to be added to the predictions of contrastive analysis.
3 We will also show that several additions to the contrastive analysis have to be made. Thus, along with the contrastive analysis hypothesis that different features of two languages are difficult to learn, it is necessary to point out a special case: features of a second language which do not exist in the native language can sometimes be easier to learn due to the effect of novelty.
We will also suggest a proof for the fact that avoidance, as an evidence for learning problems, can also occur despite structural similarities of two languages, i. e. in contradiction to the statement of contrastive analysis that similar linguistic features are easy to learn. For this case of avoidance we will show that learning problems and, consequently, avoidance behaviour can be caused by a comparison of forms not only between two languages, but also within the system of a second language.
In addition, we will show that linguistic features of two languages similar in form can also cause learning difficulty through their functional differences. In order to prove our suppositions, we will consider more closely the following studies: “Avoidance of Phrasal verbs – A Case for Contrastive Analysis” by Dagut and Laufer (1985), “Avoidance. Grammatical or Semantic Causes? ” by Hulstijn and Marchena (1989), “Avoidance behaviour in adult second language acquisition” by Kleinmann (1977).
The reason for our choice of the articles is the fact that these studies exemplify 3 possible situations which can occur when contrastive analysis is applied to in order to explain the phenomenon of avoidance: 1) predictions of learning difficulty made on the basis of contrastive analysis are confirmed through the manifestation of avoidance behaviour; 2) contrastive analysis predicts no learning difficulty; however, learners resort to an avoidance strategy; 3) contrastive analysis predicts a learning difficulty and the manifestation of avoidance behaviour, but the later cannot be observed.
With the help of the articles mentioned above, we will provide evidence for and explanation of these possible cases. 4 Chapter I. Theoretical implications on contrastive and error analysis 1. Contrastive Analysis Banathy, Trager, and Waddle (1966) define the idea of the contrastive analysis (the strong version) as follows: “… the change that has to take place in the language behavior of a foreign language student can be equated with the differences between the structure of the student’s native language and culture and that of the target language and culture.
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. ” Schachter (1974) defines the contrastive analysis more detailed as “a point by point analysis of the phonological, morphological, syntactic, or other subsystem of two languages.
”Proponents of the contrastive analysis believe that such a comparison would allow to develop a most effective teaching programme and teaching materials. Such a belief is based on the assumption that it is necessary to identify the points of difficulty which foreign language learners come across. According to the contrastive analysis hypothesis, the learning problem and area of interference would occur at the points where two languages differ.
According to Schachter, investigators can analyze and compare two theoretically compatible linguistic descriptions of one of these subsystems of language A and language B, and due to such a comparison they can discover the differences and the similarities between the two languages given, which provides a base for making predictions about what will be difficult for a speaker of language A who attempts to learn language B. Proponents of this approach assume that it will be easier to learn similar features and that differences between the elements of the native and the target languages will be harder to acquire.
In other words, the contrastive analysis hypothesis says that positive transfer would occur where two languages are similar; where they are different, negative transfer, or interference, would result. 5 From the point of behaviorism, language acquisition is a product of habit formation. Habits are constructed through the repeated association between some stimulus and response. Second language learning, then, is viewed as a process of overcoming the habits of the native language in order to acquire the new habits of the target language.
This is to be accomplished through the pedagogical practices of dialogue memorization, imitation and pattern practice. The contrastive analysis hypothesis was important to this view of language learning, since if trouble spots in the target language could be anticipated, errors might be prevented. In this way, the formation of bad habits could be avoided. 2. Error Analysis Wardhaugh (1970) proposed a distinction between a strong version and a weak version of the contrastive analysis hypothesis.
The strong version involves predicting errors in second language learning based upon an a priori contrastive analysis of the first and a second language. In the weak version, however, researchers start with learner errors and explain them by pointing to the similarities and differences between two languages. Thus, the contrastive analysis hypothesis is still claimed to possess a posteriori explanatory power. As such, it was useful in a broader approach to detecting the source of error, namely error analysis.
Contrastive analysis a posteriori is said to be a subcomponent of the more encompassing field of error analysis. The proponents of error analysis point out that the contrastive analysis hypothesis pays attention only to predicting what the learner will do, and does not pay any attention to the study of what the learner actually does. They also claim that many errors do not result from native language interference but rather from the strategies employed by the learner in the acquisition of the target language and also from mutual interference of items within the target language.
Error analysis provided support to Chomsky’s theory of language acquisition. Chomsky’s view was that language acquisition was not a product of habit formation but rather one of rule formation. According to Chomsky, humans possessed a certain innate predispositions to induce the rules of the target language from the input to 6 which they were exposed. Once acquired, these rules would allow learners to create and comprehend novel utterances which they would not have understood or produced if they were limited to imitating input from the environment.
Thus, error analysis provided a prove for the fact that children acquiring their first language, first, internalized certain rules and then mastered limitations of these rules, which indicated that the children were not simply repeating forms from the input they encountered. Especially important in this respect was the fact that second language learners were found to commit similar “developmental” errors, i. e. errors that were not apparently due to the first language interference.
And thus, the process of second language was also thought to be one of rule formation in which the rules were acquired through a process of hypothesis formation and testing. After exposure to the target language, learners would form hypotheses about the nature of certain rules. They would then test their hypotheses when producing the target language utterances. Learners would modify their hypotheses about the nature of the target language rules so that their utterances increasingly conformed to the target language.
At this point it becomes evident that the view of learners from an error analysis perspective differs vastly from the view of learners from the contrastive analysis perspective. In the later, errors are the result of the intrusion of the first language habits over which the learner had no control. From an error analysis perspective, the learner is no longer seen to be a passive recipient of the target language input, but rather plays an active role, processing input, generating hypotheses, testing and refining them, and determining the ultimate target language level he or she will attain.
The fact that the learner determines the level of proficiency he or she is going to achieve can be explained in terms of an interlanguage and fossilization. The concept of interlanguage can be thought of as a continuum between the first and a second language along which all learners traverse. At any point of the continuum the learner’s language is systematic and rule-governed. The phenomenon of fossilization, in its turn, claims that fossilizable linguistic phenomena are kept by speakers in their interlanguage relative to a particular target Teaching English
The Relevance of Error Analysis and Contrastive Analysis Submitted by Dr. Elbadri Abbas on 28 February, 2009 – 19:15 Dear ELT Colleagues, I am a Sudanese ELT Lecturer. I have been working in Saudi Arabia since 2004. This is my first contribution in Teaching English website. The ideas in this article are based on my own classroom experience and observations. I have been teaching English as a foreign language for over 13 years. After I finished the course of a post graduate diploma in ELT in 1999, I was able to detect the different types of errors in my students’ writing assignments.
Observing the students’ writing assignments , I noticed a lot of errors were attributed to the differences between their native language NL (Arabic Language,) and the foreign language FL which is (English). Since there is a claim in ELT, which says ” the most difficult areas of foreign language learning are the areas of differences between the two languages” . I have investigated and analyzed the textbooks and other materials which were selected by the college committee to be taught in essay writing courses.
Regarding the differences between English and Arabic languages, I found that the textbooks were basically designed for foreign learners, but they don’t include any related needs of Arab learners who are learning English in a foreign language context. I used the procedure of Error Analysis to help me investigate my students’ needs. I selected randomly a sample of 20 essays written by 3rd. level students. The criterion of this selection is that they have received some training and practice in writing courses.
I followed the steps of Error Analysis, starting with identification and description of errors to the explanation and evaluation of the errors. The main objective of using the Error Analysis was to help me to know the main causes/ sources which were behind the errors that the students made at different linguistic levels (grammatical, lexical, syntactic and semantic levels). I based the analysis on the literature of Corder, 1974 and Richards, 1974, James, 1998, Selinker, 1972 in Richards, 1974, Richards & Sampson, 1974).
Their Taxonomy for Error Analysis includes the following categories and sub-categories: – 1. grammatical (prepositions, articles, reported speech ,singular and plural, adjectives, relative clauses, irregular verbs, tenses, and possessive case), 2. Syntactic (coordination, sentence structure, nouns and pronouns, and word order) 3. Lexical (word choice) 4. Semantic & substance (mechanics: punctuation & capitalization, and spelling). Based on the Corder and others, the errors were explained in grammatical, lexical, syntactic and semantic terms, and thoroughly examined to find their sources.
The error sources were mainlyInterlingual (Negative L1 Transfer/Interference) & Intralingual (Developmental). In the following term, I used the findings of this analysis (with a coordination with the department of English) in; 1. Material selection 2. Classroom practice especially when I come to problematic areas ,as contrastive analysis claim (where students are expected to make errors) Dear colleagues, I want to know your opinions concerning Error Analysis and Contrastive Analysis as applied in ELT.
Also I would like to share your similar ideas and experience about the application of these two techniques in syllabus design and teaching methodologies? CONTRASTIVE ANALYSIS AND ERROR ANALYSIS-IMPLICATIONS FOR THE TEACHING OF ENGLISH Different approaches to the phenomenon of language, different linguistic theories and schools of thought influence our methods of teaching. Structural linguistic and the behavioristic movement in psychology resulted in the audio-lingual method.
The transformational approach, with its stress on the analytical element in language learning, reintroduced rational, cognitive methods, but regardless of our view of language, we must somehow solve a whole series of problems in the process of teaching a foreign language. One of these problems is the relationship between the L1 (The learner’s native language) and L2 (The language to be learned). ”A contrastive analysis consists of a series of statements about the similarities and differences between two languages“(4).
There has always been an element of contrastive analysis in foreign language teaching. Some thirty years ago it was believed that foreign language learning consisted mainly, if not exclusively, in learning the contrast between L1 and L2 . Today contrastive analysis is being reassessed, and its applicability to language teaching is viewed in a different light. During the last decades, a systematic contrastive analysis has been advocated as a means of predicting the difficulties in learning a foreign language.
It is now recognized that contrastive analysis should be used to explain difficulties. In other words, analysis contrastive should be used as part of the explanatory stage in error analysis. Nevertheless, the results from Contrastive Analysis and Error Analysis would be incomplete without awareness of the deep level of semantic categories. Different languages and their grammars may be regarded as autonomous, but when it comes to Semantics it seems that it is the core of the languages and common or universal basis that they share, regardless of the differences in their grammars.
Therefore it is very important for a translator of a foreign language teacher to be aware of the interaction of the level of semantic categories and the level of formal exponents. We must point out that the value of contractive analysis beyond its importance in explaining the learner’s difficulties. The confrontation of two languages is important from the point of view of translation theory, language typology and study of language universals. Contrastive analysis of two languages point at the specific features of each language system in its major areas: phonology, morphology, lexicology, syntax ,text analysis.
The knowledge about the kinds and degree of differences and similarities between languages on a number of linguistic levels helps in the process of anticipating possible difficulties with L 2 learners. The most widely recognized source of foreign language learning errors is that of L1 interference.
Those elements that are similar to the learner’s native language, will be simple for him and those that are different will be difficult and will, by implication, be likely to produce errors. We may say that one of the undoubted merits of contrastive linguistic is the fact that it offered a natural, even if only partial explanation to the errors made by foreign language learners.
Contrastive analysis considered most errors to be the result of a phenomenon of interference, when patterns existing in the learner ‘smother tongue were transferred as such into his/her use of the language to be learned. Viewed from this point of view, error analysis had no proper status, it was a mere addition to contrastive analysis. But not all errors made by learners of a foreign language are due to thedifferences existing between the structures of the two language in contact.
There are indeed a certain number of errors due, primarily, to this cause, especially with beginners but there are, of course, many others whose explanation should be looked for somewhere else. Scholars engaged in the study of foreign language learning, try, by various methods, to identify the process and strategies which might be considered responsible for the students mistaken utterances. They distinguish: a. Errors which might be explained by contrastive analysis, the so-called “interlingual errors” or b. Errors due to the evaluative character of the acquisition of a foreign language, the “interlingual errors».
It is the duty of the foreign language teacher both to identify and classify the typical errors and to apply remedial strategies, to find adequate methods to eliminate them both at the individual and group level. The methodology of error analysis has generally followed a uniform method of investigation consisting of the following steps:– Collection of data (either from “free” compositions by students on a given theme or from examination papers);–
Identification of errors (labeling the exact nature of the deviation, e. g.Dangling preposition, anomalous sequence of tenses, etc. );– Classification into error types (e. g. errors of agreement, articles, verbforms, etc. );– Statement of relative frequency of error types;– Identification of the areas of difficulty in the target language Therapy (remedial drills, lessons, etc. ). While the above methodology is roughly representative of the majority of error analyses in the traditional framework, the more sophisticated investigationswent further, to include one or both of the following:–
Analysis of source of the errors (e. g.mother tongue interference, over-generalization, inconsistencies in the spelling system of the target language, etc. );– Determination of the error in terms of communication, norm, etc. The analysis of mistakes based on adequate material will clearly show that’s most troublesome for the learners concerned and thus where they need support most. However, it is not only remedial work which can be guided thus, but the whole of a language course, and at every stage. Writing is the obvious basis for analysis but mistakes in speaking can be noted to with the help of the teacher.
Some of the mistakes which our students make in learning. English are based on false analogies within the foreign language but the majority of the mistakes result from carrying over into the English language the speech habits of Romanian, habits of pronunciation, of morphology, of syntax. Analyzing the kinds of mistakes students make, we shall have a basis for supporting nearly every step of the language teaching instead of continually improvising and teaching by intuition. In her article “Contrastive Linguistics in Textbook and Classroom”, WilgaM.
Rivers states: “It may appear that the contrastive technique ‘par excellence’ in foreign language teaching is the translation exercise. Here the student is confronted with native language forms and structure and required to produce the contrasting forms and structure of the foreign language” (5). The translation in which exact meaning is transferred from one language to another demands thorough knowledge of areas of contrast in form and function and it is for this reason, being a very profitable exercise of the students ‘control of the foreign language at an advanced level.
Methodologists consider that in the early stages of learning a foreign language, translations of short patterns and simple forms may be a quick way to check whether students have ascribed the appropriate meaning to that they are practicing. At intermediate and advanced levels, equivalents of expressions, sentences, and even paragraphs may be necessary, and such practice could well lead to skill that we should help our students to acquire. One effective way of eliminating error is self-correction.
This can be done if the teacher uses certain symbols (T = tense error, Sp = spelling; SgPl = singular and plural concord wrong etc.), explanatory comments in the margin of the written paper or only underlines the mistakes. Giving back written work with brief comments is a good way for the student to correct his own mistakes. Another procedure is to offer the students the possibility to examine their errors and discuss them with each other.
After a few minutes, they are encouraged to ask questions if they still have doubts. The other students are asked to help, if they can, by giving examples. This procedure offers practice and reinforcement of material (For example it can be successfully applied in contrasting the Present Perfect to the Past Tense).
From our short experience we have reached the conclusion that in language areas, for which generalizations which are applicable to a large number of facts can be formulated, the chances of errors are smaller. For instance, when we teach the interrogative form of different tenses, we draw the student’s attention to the specific English world order: Auxiliary – Subject – National Verb. In view of these observations, it is our job to help the students arrive at as many generalizations as possible.
Other solutions refer to further explanations with more adequate examples or teaching aids, comparison with the mother tongue, translations etc. But the most effective way to extinguish error is to have plenty of corrective exercises which should provide something for the students to say or write, sentences or short paragraphs to be imitated, completed or added to a series of exercises directed at each typical error CONCLUSIONS We may conclude that the aim of contrastive studies is not only a better understanding of the linguistic structure, but also applied deductions, meant to raise the entire teaching activity above.