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The number of negative utterances that this person produced varied greatly from one week to the next. However, The most predominant negative structure that he uses throughout the weeks is the negative proposition with a verb. In these constructions, he uses no as the negative form and most of the time he deletes the subject of the sentence, resulting in sentences such as: “No talk to him”; “No is mine”. This use of no as a negative form as well as the deletion of the subject is consistent with his first language, Spanish.
In Spanish, no is the principal negative form and the subject pronoun is often deleted (usually called pro-drop) as the verb form reflects the subject. Thus, these features of this person’s early negative structures can be interpreted as L1 interference. However, this formation is also prevalent in children learning English as their first language (developmental stage). He appears to have an awareness of the negative form don’t but only uses it in formulaic phrases, i.
e. I don’t care or I don’t understand.
Although this person is able to get across his utterances, all of them are just a translation of his Spanish language structure. I other words, he is following rules of syntax and grammar using cues from Spanish and literally translating them into English, such as in “I don’t can explain this picture”; “I don’t saw”. There is a clear first language interference. In my view, this person has not yet acquired the English grammatical features (especially with English auxiliary structures) to string the words together into a coherent English sentence.
In Spanish grammar do not exist any auxiliary structures (do/does, did, can, could, would, etc.). Thus, the process of acquisition and proper use of auxiliaries in English is taking longer. Some weeks he makes progress, but some others he does not. This, also, makes me believe that he may have a sort of fossilization problem with auxiliary verbs.
To my way of thinking, his negative utterances rely heavily on his first language (Spanish). Throughout the weeks he does not make much progress and commits mistakes of the same type (due to his L1 interference). This may be because he is still in a developmental stage (as children learning English as their mother tongue) and he needs more time to figure out and acquire the knowledge to make negative coherent English structures. In addition, I believe that this may be because he has fossilized the negative structures and might be hard for him to make changes. On the other hand, the fact that he uses some formulaic expressions such as “I don’t care” and “I don’t understand” mean that he also depends on them. However, I think that these ready-made expressions help him communicate and survive in situations that he cannot manage using his own competence.
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