CA, EA, & IL 11

Report
Contrastive Analysis, Error
Analysis, Interlanguage
Lec. 11
1. Contrastive Analysis CA

CA is an approach to the study of SLA which involves
predicting and explaining learner problems based on a
comparison of L1 & L2 to determine structural similarities
& differences.
Contrastive Analysis CA

CA & linguistic and psychological theories 1940s & 1950s
(structuralism & behaviorism)

The goal of CA was primarily pedagogical in nature: to
increase efficiency in L2 teaching and testing.
Robert Lado & Linguistics Across Cultures
(1957)

The plan of the book:
We can predict and describe the patterns that will cause
difficulty in learning, and those that will not cause difficulty,
by comparing systematically the language and culture to be
learned with the native language and culture of the student.
CA & Structuralism

Following structuralist linguistics, the focus of CA is on
the surface forms of both L1 & L2 systems, and on
describing and comparing the languages on the level at a
time
(phonological/morphological/syntactic/lexical
aspect).

A bottom-up analysis (small large)

Fries & his claims on L2 teaching
CA& Behaviorism

Language acquisition essentially involves habit formation
in a process of Stimulus-Response-Reinforcement (S-RS).

Learners imitate and repeat the language that they hear.
Contrastive Analysis CA

Transfer learning:
1.
Positive transfer
2.
Negative transfer Interference)
The process of CA

Describing L1 & L2 at each level

Analyzing comparable segments of the languages for elements which are
likely to cause problems for learners

This information provides a rationale for constructing language lessons

Lado’s assumptions
1.
The easiest L2 structures are those which exist in L1 with
the same form, meaning, and distribution and are thus
available for positive transfer.
Lado’s assumptions
2.
Any structure in L2 which has a form not occurring in L1
need to be learned, but this is not likely to be very
difficult if it has the same meaning and distribution as an
‘equivalent’ in L1.
Lado’s assumptions
3.
Among the most difficult are structures where there is
partial overlap but not equivalence in form, meaning, and
/ or distribution and these are the most likely to cause
interference.
Types of Interference: Spanish & English
same form & meaning, different distribution
English

The white dove

The white doves
Spanish


La paloma blanca
Las palomas blancas
Types of Interference: Spanish & English
same meaning, different form
English

I will go
Spanish

iré
Types of Interference: Spanish & English
same meaning, different form & distribution
English

Water
Spanish

agua
CA

The process of CA can be applied to any L1 & L2, but
analysts cannot assume that such specifics as definitions
of types of interference in Spanish & English will be
relevant for languages with different typological features.

E.g.

All languages inflecting nouns for plural will be contrasted
with languages inflecting verb for number, or with
languages using no grammatical marker for number at all.
CA

While CA highlighted potential learning problems,
behaviorist learning theory attributed variable success by
L2 learners in part to the nature of the relationship
between L1 & L2, but most importantly to circumstances
of learning which promote poor versus good habit
formation .
The CA of the 1940s & 1960s, & SLA

1.
The CA of the 1940s & 1960s was not adequate for the
study of SLA because:
The behaviorist learning theory to which it was tiedcannot explain the logical problem of language learning.
The CA of the 1940s & 1960s, & SLA
2.
The CA analyses were not always validated by evidence
from actual errors. Many of the L2 problems which CA
predicts do not emerge; CA does not account for many
learner errors, and much predicted positive transfer does
not materialize.
The CA of the 1940s & 1960s, & SLA
But, CA
1.
Stimulated the preparation of hundreds of comparative
grammars, and
2.
Its analytic procedures have been usefully to descriptive
studies and to translation, including computer
translation.
2. Error Analysis EA (1970s)

Error analysis EA is the first approach to the study of SLA
which includes an internal focus on learners’ creative
ability to construct language.

it is based on the description and analysis of actual
learner errors in L2., rather than on idealized linguistic
structures attributed to native speakers of L1 & L2
Error Analysis

EA replaced CA by the early 1970s because of the following
developments:

Overprediction of errors
Underprediction of errors
A change in linguistic theory: structural linguistics  underlying
structures
Being based on the notion of habit formation: Behaviorism Nativism
The developing distinction between L2 teaching & L2 learning:
learning process




Error Analysis

Behaviorism  Nativism

Language thus came to be understood as a rule-governed
behavior

The child is an active participant and not a passive
recipient
3. EA Approach
For the first time,

Learners errors are not bad habits but sources of insight
into the learning process

According to Corder (1967)
1.
Errors are windows into the language learner’s mind
(transitional competence)
2.
The making of errors is significant because it is part of the
learning process itself
3. EA Approach
For the first time,

Learner language is viewed as a target of analysis which is
potentially independent of L1 & L2, and the state of
learner knowledge is seen as transitional competence on
the path of SLA
EA Methodology
The procedure for analyzing the learner errors includes
the following steps:
1.
Collection of a sample learner language
2.
Identification of errors
3.
Description of errors
4.
Explanation of errors
5.
Evaluation of errors
EA Criticism

EA is mainly criticized for a number of shortcomings:
1.
Ambiguity in classification (interlingual? interalingual? L1
influence?)
2.
Lack of positive data
3.
Potential for avoidance
4.
Influence of L2 curricula
3. Interlanguage IL (1970s)

Selinker (1972) introduced the term Interlanguage IL to
refer to the intermediate states of a learner’s language/
system as it moves toward the L2.

This linguistic approach has been names different terms,
such as transitional competence, interlanguage, and
approximative systems
IL Assumptions
1.
Learners construct a linguistic system, which is different
form L1 & L2, but based on L2 input.
2.
Learners reconstruct and approximate a certain variety
of L2 that rarely becomes identical to the L2 norm
IL Characteristics

IL has the following characteristics:
1.
Systematic
2.
Dynamic
3.
Variable
4.
Reduced system in both form & function
IL & L1

Selinker (1972) and the difference between IL development in
SLA & La in children (cognitive processes):
1.
Language transfer form L1 to L2
2.
Transfer of training, or how L2 is taught
3.
Strategies of L2 learning
4.
Strategies of L2 communication
5.
Overgeneralization of the target language linguistic material
6.
Fossilization & age of learning
IL & Methodology
Selinker identified a number of essential components for IL
analysis:
1.
L1 utterances uttered by the learner
2.
IL utterances produced by the learner
3.
L2 utterances produced by native speakers
IL Criticism
1.
No concrete hints in the literature on how to describe the
changing linguistic system in IL
2.
A large body of data is needed to ascertain a linguistic rule in
the learner’s IL, and this only achieved through longitudinal
studies in order to follow the development of language.
3.
Observation of the most truly systematic of a learner’s IL is not
an easy process since it needs a number of considerations
related to social status of both the learner & the researcher
(topic, classroom, monitored speech, etc.)

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