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Difficulties for Spanish Speakers Learning English
Difficulties for Spanish Speakers Learning English
Difficulties for Spanish Speakers Learning English
Difficulties for Spanish Speakers Learning English
Difficulties for Spanish Speakers Learning English
Difficulties for Spanish Speakers Learning English
Difficulties for Spanish Speakers Learning English
Difficulties for Spanish Speakers Learning English
Difficulties for Spanish Speakers Learning English
Difficulties for Spanish Speakers Learning English
Difficulties for Spanish Speakers Learning English
Difficulties for Spanish Speakers Learning English
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Difficulties for Spanish Speakers Learning English

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  • 1. Native Language Influence
    Common Difficulties for Spanish Speakers Learning English
    Kristen Zadick
  • 2. Areas of Grammatical Difficulties
    This presentations is meant to highlight common problem areas for Spanish speakers learning English. As an overview of the differences between English and Spanish, the presentation will examine the following areas
    Pronouns
    Adjectives
    Plurals
    Overgeneralization
    Articles
    Indefinite
    Definite
  • 3. Possessive Pronouns
    In Spanish, the possessive pronoun refers to (and agrees with) both the person as well as the object
    The pronoun must agree with the object in number
    ‘Mi tía’ (My aunt)
    ‘Mis tías’ (My aunts)
    In English, the possessive pronoun only refers to the person who possesses something
    The possessive pronoun does not agree with the object
    ‘My brother’
    ‘My brothers’
    (Moore & Marzano 1979)
    (Moore & Marzano 1979)
  • 4. Possible Problems
    Students may have trouble understanding that pronouns do not change depending on plural objects
    Learners may attempt to pluralize pronouns when appearing with plural object
    * ‘These crayons are mines’
    * Ungrammatical
    (Moore & Marzano 1979)
  • 5. Subject Pronouns
    Unlike English, Spanish can ‘drop’ the subject pronoun
    The verb carries the person and number
    ‘Es unamujer’ (verb + noun) is acceptable
    (Moore & Marzano 1979)
    Students may produce:
    * ‘Is a woman’
    (Moore & Marzano 1979)
    Subject pronouns, like he, she, I and you, need to be taught as obligatory elements
  • 6. Adjectives
    In English, adjectives appear before the noun that is being modified
    ‘The red car’
    The Spanish equivalent shows the adjective after the noun it modifies
    ‘El carro rojo’
    This difference can cause learners to produce:
    *‘The house big’
    *‘The car red’
    *‘The woman tall’
    (Coe, in Swan, Smith 1987)
  • 7. Possessive Adjectives
    ‘Su’ is used for his, her, its, their and your (formal)
    This difference produces utterances such as:
    *‘She is making his bed’ when the speaker actually means
    ‘She is making her bed’
    (Coe, in Swan, Smith 1987)
    Teach all the forms of possessive adjectives
    Highlight the different contexts of his, her, their and your
    Show the relationship between the subject pronoun and the possessive adjective
  • 8. Plural Overgeneralization
    Spanish adjectives agree in both gender and number with the noun being modified
    ‘Las chicas lindas’
    ‘Los gatos gordos’
    ‘Los carros rojos’
    This difference between the two languages may cause learners to produce:
    *‘The pretties girls’
    *‘The fats cats’
    *’The reds cars’
    (Moore & Marzano 1979)
  • 9. Articles: Indefinite
    Indefinite article usage differs from English to Spanish
    Spanish speakers omit indefinite articles before professions.
    ‘Él es abogado’
    ‘He is a lawyer ’
    When learning English, this native language rule may transfer to English, creating errors.
    *‘She is teacher’
    *’He is lawyer’
    (Moore & Marzano 1979)
  • 10. Articles : Definite
    Spanish speakers have trouble with overuse and underuse of the indefinite article
    In many situations where English speakers use a possessive pronoun, Spanish speakers will use a definite article
    With body parts, speakers will often say *‘She brushes the hair’
    (Moore & Marzano 1979)
    When used in cultural contexts, where the noun being referred to is a well known or unique landmark, speakers include a definite article when unnecessary
    *He swam in the Lake Michigan
    *We went hiking in theLake District last autumn
    (Del Pilar GarcíaMayo. 2007)
  • 11. Summary
    Looking at this overview of common errors for Spanish speakers learning English, it is obvious that native language plays a large role in second language learning.
    In the classroom, the teacher will, undoubtedly, encounter many more errors than the few presented here.
    However, it is always important to understand how grammatical differences, among others, influence the language learning process
  • 12. References
    Coe, N. in Swan, M. & Smith, B. Learner English: A teacher's guide to interference and other problems. (1987) Cambridge University Press.
    Del Pilar GarcíaMayo, M . (2007). The acquisition of four nongeneric uses of the article the by Spanish EFL learners . System , 36(4), doi: doi:10.1016/j.system.2008.08.00
    Moore, F.B., & Marzano, R.J. (1979). Common errors of Spanish speakers learning English . Research in the Teaching of English , 13(2), Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/40170752

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