• The Definition
• Contrastive analysis and
•What the Learner know
•Difference & Difficulty2
•A basis for syntactic
• Comparison of the sound
system in contrastive analysis4
Contrastive analysis is a tool developed for
language teaching and learning.
The chief proponent Lado (1957) sees it as a
scientific out look into describing a language.
Contrastive analysis (CA) according to Oluikpe
(1981:21) is “the one in which the similarities
and differences between two (or more)
languages at particular levels are explicated
in the context of a chosen theoretical
Contrastive Analysis has been the first
major theory dealing with the relationship
between the languages a learner
acquires or masters.
Another term, „contrastive analysis‟, can
be used interchangeably with the above
mentioned terms, but linguists tend to use
it to refer to the comparison proper.
Contrastive analysis provides useful insights to
the teacher who has performed a contrastive
analysis between the students‟ L1 and L2, and
makes him/her aware of the real learning
problems and the best way(s) to teach them
The most useful contribution that Contrastive
Analysis can make to language teaching lies
in predicting learning difficulties and helping
syllabus designers to produce the most
They assume all students studying one
language, who speak the same mother
tongue, will make the same mistakes as
It does not factor in the possibility of
individual differences. It also does not
help students avoid systematic mistakes.
The only help for such students is lists of
Contrastive analysis fails to distinguish
between the written rules of formal language
and the unwritten rules of informal language.
It also fails to take into account differences
Studies comparing and contrasting different
languages still have a role to play in language
formation and history. The production of
language family trees and genealogies are
useful for explaining how different languages
were formed and where they came from. It is
also used to connect different languages
A comparison of two languages can be
carried out using any of several different
models of grammar. Initially the model used
was that of structuralist linguists (e.g.
Bloomfield 1933; Fries 1952).
Ideally Contrastive Analysis needs to be
based on universal categories (i.e.
categories that can be found in all natural
languages), which differ in the way they are
linguistically realized from one language to
However, most of the contrastive studies carried out
have been based 40 surface structure
characteristics, such as those described by the
The procedure followed was:
(1) description (i.e. a formal description of the two
languages is made)
(2) selection (i.e. certain items, which may be entire
subsystems such as the auxiliary system or ~areas
known through error analysis to present difficulty, are
selected for comparison)
(3) comparison (i.e. the identification of areas of
difference and similarity)
(4) prediction (i.e. identifying which areas are likely to
Here are some of the possibilities that a comparison might reveal:
1. No difference between a feature of the first and second language
2. „Convergent phenomena‟ (i.e. two items in the first language
become coalesced into one in the L2)
3. An item in the first language is absent in the target language
4. An item in the first language has a different distribution from the
equivalent item in the target language
5. No similarity between first language feature and target language
6. „Divergent phenomena‟ (i.e. one item in the first language
becomes two items in the target language).
Most contrastive analyses have compared
phonological systems, probably as
recognition of the role that the L1 plays in
The „hierarchy of difficulty‟ was an attempt to
solve this problem linguistically, but unless the
solution has psychological validity (i.e.
corresponds to what learners actually do), it
will be inadequate.
Contrastive Analysis constituted a
hypothesis, and like all hypotheses was open
to empirical investigation.
Similarities between languages may be
very general or abstract on the other
hand, or superficial and trivial on the
For example, the English learners cannot
by inspection immediately discover that
the number system of German is similar
to that of English.
Plural here refers to the form of a noun or a verb
which refers to more than one person or thing.
A wolf is
Wolf is animal
From the example above, we can see
that in English, the ideas of plural are
expressed in many ways. A final –s or –es
is added to a noun to make a noun
plural. Sometimes, the changing a (man)
to e (men) is also needed to indicate
plural. A final –s or –es is added to a verb
I when the subject is a singular noun (a
wolf, a shark, a pet) or a third a person
singular pronoun (she, he, it) (Azar, 1989).
Syntax means the study of the rules that
govern the ways in which word combine
to form phrases, the idea of plural, and
In linguistics, syntax means the study of
the rules that govern the ways in which
words combine to form
phrases, clauses, and sentences.
In contrasting the syntactic structures of
two languages as different as Bahasa
Indonesia and English, the former being
case-based and the latter word-order-
based, we inevitably encounter so many
differences that an analysis without our
having a particular purpose in mind
hardly seems reasonable.
In English phrases, adjectives precede
nouns. Therefore, the law applied is MD
adjective (my) precedes noun
(grandmother), but vice versa in Bahasa
which applied DM law.
S – P
S – P – O
S – P – Pel
S – P – Ket
S – P – O – Pel
S – P – O – Ket
If we see further, the basic sentences in
Indonesia language and English are not
much different in patterns. The differences
are only in rules.
-Someone is sleeping.
SP=Subjek + Predikat
In this reading, Lado (1957) presents a
systematic technique to compare two
sound systems. In the tradition of
contrastive analysis, Lado predicts that
careful analysis of two separate sound
systems (of L1 and L2) will allow
prediction, detection and correction of
pronunciation problems for L2 learners.
He cautions that analysis must involve
many factors related to sounds
systems, such as
phonetics, phonemics, sequences of
phonemes and intonation patterns.
For Lado, the goal of such analyses was
to improve foreign language instruction
and create better learning materials.
When comparing the sound system of two languages, the
contrastive analyst has to go through four basic steps.
Firstly, he should draw up the phonemic inventory
(describe and compare vowels and consonants) of the
two languages under study.
Secondly, the contrastive analyst should compare the
phonemes in the two languages inter-lingualy. At this
stage, the contrastive analyst should apply the minimal
Thirdly, the contrastive analyst should state the
allophones of each phoneme of the two languages
Fourthly, he should state the distribution restrictions of the
phonemes and allophones of both languages.
Here is an example of the minimal pair test
between the phonemes /k/ and /g/ in
English and Arabic:
English: came /Keim/ vs. game /geim/
Arabic: /kelb/ „dog‟ vs. /gelb/ „heart‟