Madonna MunleyLanguage Comparison/Data Collection
English Spanish12 + vowels, 3 5 vowels, 5 diphthongsdiphthongs •Vowel length is not a distinctive feature so learners may have problems distinguishing between the English vowels ĭ (as in sit) and ē (as in seat) or between ĕ (as in bet) and ā (as in bait) Flaitz (2003) •Not much difference between v and b and the meaning of the word does not change, which it would in English (vow/bow) • Spanish speakers may substitute a j for the hard to pronounce y in yesterday “some learners may not be able to tell the difference between ä (as in pot), ă (as in hat) and ŭ (as in put)” (Flaitz, 2003, p. 196). •Diphthongs and most English consonants do not pose problems for Spanish ELLs.
I observed Javier, a twelve-year old student from El Salvador who has been in the United States for four years. He is in 5th grade and is at an Intermediate language learning level. Javier made few errors in speaking. He said that some words are the same as Spanish, but “you take off a letter.” And some words, like his favorite video game Portal are spelled the same but “you say them different.”
English Spanish Inflection and Agreement Inflection and Agreement•Number in nouns, tense/aspect in verbs, and •Nouns for number and gender, but not forcomparison in adjectives possession (which is signaled by placing the article de between the possessed item and•English has a number of irregular verbs with the possessor, as in la casa de mi madre, theinflections occurring internally (sit/sat) that house of my mother ”could frustrate Spanish ELLs. •far more inflectional categories — and affixes to mark them — for verbs than does English•Agreement in subject and verb •Agreement in subject and verb and in gender with nouns and adjectives •Spanish ELLs can carry the rule of agreement in gender over to English morphology and commit speaking or writing errors until they
Adjective Usage Errors What Javier wrote Correct form Error Used an adjective form learn geographic learn geography instead of the noun Used the plural instead of the My moms eyes My mom’s eyes possessive adjective Pronoun Errors What Javier wrote Correct form Error Incorrectly inserted the Alligators they use Alligators use subject pronoun “they” when there is already a subject in the sentenceAnimals use tools to protect Animals use tools to protect Incorrectly made the object themself themselves pronoun singular instead of plural
Verb Tense Errors What Javier wrote Correct form Error Did not apply rule of adding “ed” to regular verb orangutan trade food orangutan traded food to form the past tense Same as above He open the door He opened the door Achy play a trick Achy played a trick Same as above Same as above My dad command me My dad commanded me Same as above He learn He learned Same as above Someone suggest Someone suggested I learn I learned Same as above I also learn I also learned Same as above Incorrectly used the present tense instead of the She hide She hid irregular past tense of the verb Did not use the correct past tense of rip which She ripe ripped doubles the final consonant before adding “ed” Omitted the final “s” for 3rd person singular form Frog carrie Frog carries of the verb in present tense
English Spanish•Moving word order changes the meaning of •Word order can be moved without changingthe sentence or creates a grammatically the meaning of the sentence.incorrect sentence. Example: ”Las chicas son altas.” has the sameExample: “The girls are tall.” cannot be meaning as “Son altas las chicas.” (The girlschanged to “Are tall the girls” because it is not are tall)a grammatically correct sentence .•Forbids the use of double negatives. •Requires the use of double negativesExample: “He doesn’t want no candies.” Example: “Él no desea ningunos dulces.”incorrect (Spanish translation with double negatives, no and ningunos ) correct Spanish ELLs would have a definite disadvantage with these two aspects of English grammar.
Preposition Usage Errors What Javier wrote Correct form Error used the preposition “to” instead of Clothing is to people to wear Clothing is for people to wear the correct preposition “for”Article Usage Errors What Javier wrote Correct form Error used the indefinite article “a” instead A octopus An octopus of the correct indefinite article “an” (because the following word begins with a vowel) A ability An ability Same as above used the indefinite article “an” instead An dolphin A dolphin of the correct indefinite article “a” (because the following word begins with a consonant) Missing the indefinite article “a” Has good memory Has a good memory
English Spanish•I forgot the homework. •Se me olvidó la tarea.Sentence structure indicates the subject is Literal translation: The homework forgot itselfdoing the action and the direct object of that (was forgotten) on me.action is the homework. It reflects the Accidental reflexive construction reflects theEnglish/American cultural attitude of laid back attitude of the Spanish culture in theindividual responsibility for one’s actions. I am sentence structure. The way it is formedresponsible for forgetting the homework. It is indicates that the action is unintentional andmy fault. relieves the object of blame or fault. Spanish ELLs might be confused by this•synonyms construction and this attitude•antonyms•polysemy•homophonesELLs will need the help of their teacher toidentify and integrate these additionalsemantic concepts into their learning.
Active v. Passive Voice Used the active instead of the passive voice I transport to school I was transported to school which is needed in this context
English Spanish•alphabetic foundations •alphabetic foundations•Flaitz (2003) points out that because •more shallow or transparentSpanish spelling is so close topronunciation, English spelling can be •more notable phoneme-grapheme correspondencedifficult for ELLs. (Pérez Cañado, 2005)
Spelling Errors What Javier wrote Correct form Error Stitches an sews Stitches and sews Left off final letter in and Arrange some rock and shells Arrange some rocks and shells Left off final letter in rocks Can go trougt Can go through Misspelled through Left off final letter in languages Speak two language Speak two languages I als I also Left off final letter in also Left off the final two letters in frog Poison fr Poison frog Left off final letter in the Th keeper The keeper Left off final letter in then The when the keeper Then when the keeper Left off final letter in then The she Then she Left off final letter in then The he Then he Misspelled receipt For a trecit For a receipt
Work on the many English vowel sounds and minimal pairs (b,v) in phonology. Present the lack of inflection for gender, and fewer inflections for verb formations as positive aspects of English morphology Point out the patterns of English syntax in context in both spoken and written English
The teacher should point out the semantics at the word or sentence level and then discuss with the class the implications of semantics in all languages. Spelling should be integrated with writing, worked on individually, in pairs, and in small groups, and taught with rules and strategies that are repeated and revised (Pérez-Cañado, 2005) .
I concluded that Javier’s errors are due more to the developmental stage of his language learning than to interference of the L1 on the development of his interlanguage. Based on his writing samples, he is doing what is expected of him in these assignments.
Flaitz, J. (2003). Understanding Your International Students. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Pérez-Cañado, M. L. (2005). English and Spanish spelling: Are they really different?. International Reading Association, 522-530.