Language ComparisonAN OVERVIEW OF DATA ANALYSIS JOURNAL AND LANGUAGE COMPARISON PAPER BY: NICHOLENE ALLEN
Information of ELL 19-year-old female Russian student studying to become an economist Lives in the town of Novgorod, which is very old Began studying English a few years ago; considers herself at the intermediate level Would like to learn more English, especially slang with which she is not familiar
Errors Encountered Capitalization- not capitalizing the personal pronoun “I” (nine total) Grammar- errors in deleting articles before nouns (six errors), using conjunctions to begin a sentence (four errors), and using the wrong verb tense (two errors) (twelve total) Punctuation- using a comma instead of a question mark (one time) 22 errors total
Summary of Errors Unfortunately, the Russian ELL with whom I was communicating stopped responding to my e-mails. Therefore, more errors should have been collected. I analyzed the Russian language and based on research found that most errors were made because of interference from the L1 language.
Language Comparison Features of Russian:-alphabet is Cyrillic and contains 33 letters-can be written using block writing or cursivewriting, which almost all Russians use-general rules to follow for capitalization: days andweeks are not capitalized; personal pronoun “I” (lookslike a backwards “R” in English) is not capitalizedunless it starts a sentence-only three spelling rules to learn(“Learn-Russia,” 2010)
Language ComparisonRussian English Alphabet is Cyrillic and has 33 letters (“Learn- Alphabet is Latin-based and has 26 letters Russia,” 2010) Some letters are similar in Russian such Some letters are similar in English such as “A”, “O”, “C”, “T”, and “B” (“Learn-Russia,” 2010) as “A”, “O”, “C”, “T”, and “B”. Does NOT have a fixed word order Does have a fixed word order Has only 5 vowel sounds Has 12 vowel sounds and 8 diphthongs Does not distinguish between short and long Does distinguish between short and long vowel sounds vowel sounds Has similar number of consonants but does not Has similar number of consonants but produce certain sounds such as /th/ in English does produce different sounds such /th/ Uses falling intonation when asking questions (pragmatics) Uses rising intonation when asking Verb system focuses on actions either being questions (pragmatics) completed or not completed through the use of affixes Uses various verb forms without the use of on the verbs affixes on the verb stem Does not use auxiliaries Uses auxiliaries Does not use articles Uses articles(Shoebottom, 2011) (Shoebottom, 2011)
Difficulties Russian ELLs Encounter While Acquiring English Because English has a different alphabet system and uses a fixed word order, ELLs may have trouble communicating and writing in English. ELLs may have difficulty in pronouncing vowel sounds since more exist in the English language than in their L1. ELLs may have trouble pronouncing certain phonemes because some are not used in Russia, such as /th/. Because Russians ask questions using falling intonation, English natives may view this as being rude. Russians may have difficulty writing English because the verb tenses vary greatly from one language to the other; Russians do not use auxiliaries as in the example of the ELL with which I communicated: “I travel to Finland next year.” The auxiliary “will” is omitted. Interference from the L1 may also cause ELLs to not capitalize certain letters, such as the personal pronoun “I”. The ELL communicated to me several examples of her not using a capital “I” as in this example: “…i don’t have time to read.” ELLs may omit articles when writing since they do not use them in the Russian language. An example includes: “It is very old town.” The article “a” is missing before “very.”
Insight Gained from Research After learning more about the Russian language, I found interference was the reason why the ELL I communicated with made most of her errors in English writing. Some errors, such as starting sentences with conjunctions, may be developmental since they cannot be explained by L1 interference. Educators should be proactive-It is useful to read about an ELL’s cultural background to gain insight into the various aspects involving the phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics of an L1 language system.
Instructional Implications Teachers need to find out about students’ L1 language backgrounds in order to be aware of errors students may make in the speaking, reading, and writing of English because of interference. Teachers can look at CAN DO descriptors to be aware of errors that are developmental. To help students acquire English, it is important for teachers to teach phonemic awareness by providing them with meaningful activities through the use of games, poems, songs, and technology (Antunez, 2002).
Instructional Implications To teach students vocabulary, it is important for educators to teach new words explicitly while also exposing students to the vocabulary in a variety of contexts (i.e. books of various genres, role-playing activities, newspaper and internet articles, etc.) (Antunez, 2002). To aid in ELLs’ comprehension of texts, it is imperative to use visuals and talk about what is happening in a story (i.e. using graphic organizers, “thinking aloud” while reading to students, discussing aspects of language such as sarcasm and figures of speech, etc.) (Antunez, 2002).
Instructional Implications It is important for teachers to constantly encourage students to speak, read, and write English by building their confidence; allowing students to participate in meaningful activities that focus on content over form will encourage ELLs to use English on a daily basis (Antunez, 2002). Educators must also continually assess students to monitor progress and evaluate what teaching methods are working and ones that need to be altered to benefit the learning process for ELLs.
ReferencesAntunez, Beth. (2002). English language learners and the five essential components of reading instruction. Retrieved from http://www.readingrockets.org/article/341/Learn-Russia. (2010). Retrieved from http://www.learn-russia.com/lessons/alphabet.phpShoebottom, Paul. (2011). The differences between English and Russian. Retrieved from http://esl.fis.edu/grammar/langdiff/russian.htm