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The psychological basis of contrastive analysis

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Contrastive Analysis, TEFL

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The psychological basis of contrastive analysis

  1. 1. The Psychological Basis of Contrastive Analysis Presenter: Sara Tehrani M.A., TEFL, Tehran, Iran
  2. 2. Transfer in Learning Psychology  CA is a hybrid drawing on the sciences of linguistics & psychology. One of the concerns of learning psychologists is the effects of one learning task on a subsequent one. The observation that prior learning effects subsequent learning leads to the hypothesis of transfer . THE PSYCHOLOGICAL BASIS FOUNDATIN OF CA IS TRANSFER THEORY. “the hypothesis that the learning of task A will affect the subsequent learning of task B.” (Ellis) transfer
  3. 3. * The two “entities” associated in a learning task are: Stimulus ( S ) Response ( R ) * The psychological basis of CA resides in the two psychological enterprises: Associationism S-R Theory Red light  need to decelerate Skinner’s or stop the vehicle. Behaviourist explanation of how lg. learning is consummated.
  4. 4. Some problems of Definition 1) In “conditioning”  the Rs are assumed to be available to the learner. In L2 learning  the Rs themselves have to be learnt as well as with which S they are to be associated. 2) CA is concerned with teaching rather than learning. - Teaching involves the predetermination of what Ss & Rs are to be associated. - Learning are the set of decisions that can be quite arbitrary.
  5. 5. 3) What constitute a S or a R in L2 learning? Jakobovits sees S as a constituted of “ …… the environment conditions that are antecedent to linguistic utterances” . Richterich (1974) called S as a “communicative need”.  But lg. behavior is a two-way process, not only do we produce utterances, we also receive them. So Jakobovit’s definition of S will not serve perception : Solution : “analysis by synthesis”
  6. 6. 4) Corder (1973): “ Linguistic descriptions which aim at accounting for lg. as a system, deal with sentences, not utterances.” One sentence underlies many concrete utterances: Sentence: Pron. Aux. V. NP object Utterance: 1) He can make cake. 2) we shall sing songs. . . 3) You should send flowers.  Therefore, in specifying Rs in lg, we must limit ourselves to their abstract form , as sentences, rather than the substance as utterences.
  7. 7. Transfer Theory & CA Lado (1957): “ individuals tend to transfer the forms & meanings & the distribution of their native lg. & culture to the foreign lg. & culture.”
  8. 8. Paradigm Task 1 Task 2 Task 3 Value A S1 – R1 S2 - R1 S1 – R1 + T B S1 – R1 S1 – R2 S1 – R1 - T C S1 – R1 S2 – R2 S1 – R1 - T Proaction Retroaction “The effect of a given specifiable “ The effect of a specifiable prior activity upon the learning of a interpolated activity upon the given test activity. “ retention of a previously learned activity.” +T : positive transfer ( facilitation) - T : negative transfer ( interference)
  9. 9. ParadigmA L1 L2 S1 – R1 S2 – R 1 Paradigm A obtains where L1 & L2 employ the same formal device, but to serve different communication purposes in L1 & L2. “ordinary learning” or “practice” Example: L1 is English & L2 is Welsh: (English) : Is she speaking German ? (Aux – Sub – V – Obj) (Welsh) : ( is she in in speak German. ) (Aux – Sub – V – Obj)
  10. 10. ParadigmB L1 L2 S1 – R1 S1 – R 2 For production, this paradigm defines translation-equivalence: that is, in L1 & L2, there is sameness of meaning accompanied by difference of formal devices. Example: L1 is German & L2 is Polish: R1 (German): ( V. Subj. Obj. ) S: Question R2 (Polish) : ( Part. Sub. Obj. V.) If you him know.
  11. 11. ParadigmC L1 L2 S1 – R1 S2 – R 2 Paradigm C is of little interest to CA, because of the non-identity of both Ss & Rs in the two lg.s.: where there is no constant, only variables, there are no grounds for comparison. Lee (1968) remarks on the absence of L1 interference during his learning of Chinese, where L1 & L2 were so very different that : false associations interference
  12. 12. Scale of Difference Maximum Differences of Rs Partial Similarity of Rs Greatest Similarity of Sa & Rs “ordinary learning” takes place. e.g: the use of subject –verb inversion in German & French. e.g: Polish / German example of word order. e.g: Polish / Japanese. In Polish, the particle is positioned sentence initially to address a question, while Japanese has particles in sentence- final position.
  13. 13. Particlelg.s Inversionlg. s Japanese Polish Russian English German Final Initial particle “Do” initial, No particle particle second S second particle * The point to be made is that: 1) We must be prepared to quantify degrees of differences between Rs in the two lg.s under CA. 2) A further task which falls to CA, is to establish the relationship between degree of linguistic differences & degree of learning difficulty.
  14. 14. CA & Behaviourist Learning Theory The psychological basis of CA, is Transfer Theory, elaborated & formulated within a S – R (Behaviourist) theory of psychology. Corder: “ one explanation of L2 errors is that the learner is carrying over the habits of his mother tongue into L2 (a sort of habit – structure ).”
  15. 15. Two cognitivist alternatives to L1 transfer
  16. 16. Cross – Association George (1972) reconstructs the mental process of induction & generalization which the L1 German learner of English seems to be subject to. English German woman wife frau  Direct interference from the mother – tongue is not a useful assumption.
  17. 17. The Ignorance Hypothesis Proposed by Newmark & Reibel (1968) to explain L2 learners’ errors: “The adult can want to say what he does not yet know how to say (in L2) & he uses whatever means he has at this disposal …” ignorance is not an alternative to interference, but at best a precondition for it. * Ignorance – without – interference - avoidance strategy  to paraphrase or use near - equivalent * Interference – without - ignorance - drilling to become error free / self correct
  18. 18. 1- “ignorant by self-evaluation”  The leaner deciding he is ignorant of a L2 form, so incapable of producing it. 2- It is possible for different learners to be equally ignorant of a given L2 structure, for e.g. when the two learners have different L1s. 3- Those proposing the Ignorance hypothesis conceive of learners to produce L2 patterns of which they have no knowledge ! But the point is that learners should have been “exposed” to L2 item before performing specific L2 item. Three major weaknesses of ignorance hypothesis

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