Sabtu, 06 November 2010

Difficulties for learners in learn ESL

Language teaching practice often assumes that most of the difficulties that learners face in the study of English are a consequence of the degree to which their native language differs from English (a contrastive analysis approach). A native speaker of Chinese, for example, may face plenty of more difficulties than a native speaker of Italian, because Italian is closely related to English, whereas Chinese is not. This may be true for someone of any brother tongue (also called first language, normally abbreviated L1) setting out to learn any other language (called a target language, second language or L2). See also second language acquisition (SLA) for mixed facts from linguistic research.

Language learners often produce errors of syntax & pronunciation thought to result from the influence of their L1, such as mapping its grammatical patterns inappropriately onto the L2, pronouncing definite sounds incorrectly or with difficulty, & confusing items of vocabulary known as false friends. This is named L1 transfer or "language interference". However, these transfer effects are usually stronger for beginners' language production, & SLA research has highlighted plenty of errors which cannot be attributed to the L1, as they are attested in learners of plenty of language backgrounds (for example, failure to apply 3rd person present singular -s to verbs, as in 'he make').

Some students may have different cultural perceptions in the classroom as far as learning a second language is concerned. Also, cultural differences in communication styles & preferences are significant. For example, a study looked at Chinese ESL students & British teachers & found that the Chinese learners did not see classroom discussion & interaction as important but placed a heavy emphasis on teacher-directed lectures.

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