Running head: LANGUAGE COMPARISON PAPER 1 Language Comparison Paper Kelly K. Fletcher Wilkes University
Running head: LANGUAGE COMPARISON PAPER 2 Abstract Rossi’s greatest area of difficulty is spoken English. As a student in a UnitedStates elementary school, she has to be able to communicate in English. Rossi struggleswith pronoun use even though there are slight oral language advancements in this area oflinguistics; it remains an area of concern. As an ESL teacher, I have the flexibility towork on pronouns with Rossi, both formally and informally. Rossi also struggles with Spanish letters in relation to English alphabet sounds.Her speech sounds are very much a hindrance when trying to differentiate the sounds of /y/ and /th/ especially in English. We practice phoneme names and sounds while she isworking one on one or in small groups to assist with the correct placement of the tongueand lips. The incorrect placement of the tongue, lips and air constriction are affecting heroral language. Through planned lessons and scholastic activities and games, Rossi isgaining confidence in her L2 langugae.
Running head: LANGUAGE COMPARISON PAPER 3 The student whom I chose to complete my language comparison paper is a thirdgrade student at Dr. David W. Kistler Elementary School. The student’s name is Rossiand she is ten years old. Rossi has been in the United States for two years and iscompleting her second year in a US elementary school. She came to the United Statesfrom the Dominican Republic; Santo Domingo. Rossi traveled from Santo Domingowith her father and two sisters. Rossi has stated that she is only allowed to speak Spanishat home even though she wants to teach her father and grandmother English. She hasalso shared that she and her sisters practice English in secret. I studied Rossi and found that she learned Spanish as her L1 or native language.Upon further study, I researched and came to the conclusion that Rossi speaks the dialectof Dominican Spanish. Speakers of Dominican Spanish typically do not have difficultyunderstanding speakers of other Spanish dialects because of the use of standard Spanishin the educational systems of the Dominic Republic. The phonologies of English and Spanish have many similarities while they bothutilize the same alphabet (Quilis, 1999). Spanish has 18 consonant phonemes comparedto the 26 in English (Goldstein & Iglesias, 1996). Spanish lacks the glottal /’/, the voicedaffricate /ʤ/ (judge), the voiced /ð/ and unvoiced /θ/ (thigh, thy), the voiced /z/ andunvoiced /ʃ/ (azure, shy), the /z/, the /ŋ/ (sing), and the flap /ɾ/ (as in butter) (Quilis,1999). English, on the other hand, does not employ the trilled /rr/ or the /ɲ/of Spanish(Quilis, 1999). The Spanish language also relies on five vowels, /a/,/e/,/i/,/o/and /u/. Thesevowels are represented as English phonemes as well, plus an additional eight vowels. ASpanish-speaker trying to speak English would be expected to create additional vowel
Running head: LANGUAGE COMPARISON PAPER 4sounds that are not native to them. On the contrary, an English-speaker would beexpected to compress their speech to rely on less than half of the normal number ofvowels used. Rossi made many errors in spoken English. In studying the similarities anddifferences between English and Spanish, I formed a hypothesis as to why the errors wereproduced in the L2 language. The conclusion I reached based on the hypothesis isbecause of the lack of pronouns in Spanish and the disassociation of the English alphabet,albeit similar to the Spanish alphabet, to the phonetics of Spanish letters. Humans learnthrough oral language (Freeman & Freeman, xii) and as Rossi gained confidence throughoral language practice, some of the errors such as using plural forms of a word (i.e.underwears) and incorrect singular forms of nouns (i.e. pant) became less frequent withinher use and practice of spoken English. As an ESL teacher, I found that the most successful way to approach Englishlanguage acquisition with my student was to break the language down into manageablechunks. While collecting the data found in the language chart of errors, I determined thatit would be too difficult to approach Rossi’s language errors all at once, so I broke theerrors down into categories based on the hypothesis and completed exercises and drills toreinforce the correct use of English language acquisition. Rossi is in the ESL classroomfor two hours a day and this time is spent out of the mainstreamed third grade classroomwhile English L1 students are receiving reading instruction. During this time, all ESLstudents work with the ELL teacher as a group and then break into small groups for peertutoring or sometimes work one on one with a tutor. The students work on letter sounds,counting and speech pattern practice through conversation.
Running head: LANGUAGE COMPARISON PAPER 5Language Chart of ErrorsPronoun Articulati Phoneme Spelling Grammatic Syntaxuse/misus on use/misuse aleshe for he /j/ for /y/ in end instead Mrs. Goto instead of Mrs. Flecha, word yes of the word Goine two words go you are the best in should be to teacher end the Goyne eart four evere.her for he /t/ for /th/ in mineself wen for we sea instead I now evere year words earth, when of we saw you be my best with teacher end the eart.mineself for /e/for /y/ in eart for earth briends for sea instead of Goto fild daymyself the word friends see and we see the every striar title (faculty) play.hers for /a/ for /er/ in da for the wit for the be used Tami and esl.herself the name word with incorrectly (this was her Fletcher sentence)hims for /d/ for /th/ in briends for mines for mine Goto camp withimself the word the friends (cultural?) Mrs. Goine wit my briends.hers for her /a/ for /e/ in the word thehims for him /b/for /f/ in the word friends Through evaluation of the data chart, I have created lessons that are based on thedifficulties that the students are struggling with in their L2 language. Once the districtprescribed lesson is taught, I will branch out and use scholastic games such as a minimalpairs (O’Grady, 61) basketball or vocal recording via the smartboard. I find these toolsinvaluable to the progress of the students, in particular the student whom this informationwas gathered. I also chose to rely on informal assessments and portfolios to evaluate thestudents. The area that I struggle with the most is instruction based on pronouns. InSpanish, possessive pronouns are usually preceded by a definite article or are simplyomitted. As a result, I use real life experiences to incorporate these into the student’svocabulary. Outside of the classroom I have the flexibility to walk the students to and
Running head: LANGUAGE COMPARISON PAPER 6from the ESL classroom, during this time I ask the students to categorize students,teachers and themselves in the form of pronouns. I will speak a sentence and purposelyuse an incorrect pronoun to evaluate whether they have caught the error and I use thisinformation as an informal assessment. I witness the use of pronouns used marginallybetter within the student’s day to day communication. While English and Spanish share many phonological tendencies, there areenough phonological differences to warrant the study of Rossi’s processes in bothlanguages. Accounting for patterns specific to Spanish ensures that phonologicaldifferences reflecting the individual’s limited proficiency in English is not viewed asdevelopmental, as per the can do descriptors but rather interlanguage development.
Running head: LANGUAGE COMPARISON PAPER 7 ReferencesFreeman, D. & Freeman, Y (2004). Essential Linguistics, What You Need to Know to Teach. New Hampshire: Heinemann.Goldstein, B. & Iglesias, A. (1996). Phonological patterns in normally developing Spanish-speaking 3- and 4-year-olds of Puerto Rican descent. Language, Speech and Hearing Services in the Schools, 27, 82-90.Mitchell, D. et al. (2003). Understanding your international students: An educational, cultural and linguistic guide. Michigan Teacher Resource.O’Grady, W., Archibald, J., Aronoff, M. & Reese-Miller, J (2010). Contemporary Linguistics, An Introduction. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s.Quilis, A., Fernandez, J.A. (1999). Cultural and Linguistic Diversity Resource Guide for Speech Language Pathologists. New York: Singular Publishing Group, Inc.