A corpus-based analysis of linguistic interference of Italian native speakers in English and Spanish written production as a foreign language

Mahnaz Aliyar

Abstract


The purpose of the present study is to investigate the language learning process of Italian native speakers through the analysis of errors found in their English and Spanish written performance. In order to accomplish this goal, essays written by Italian university students were collected, typed and used to build two computer-readable corpora. Furthermore, competence errors retrieved from each corpus were classified according to their sources into intralingual and interlingual errors. Then, interlingual errors were classified according to linguistic levels and form of errors. Finally, the created taxonomies were analysed to simulate, subsequently, the students’ interlanguage systems. Thus, by comparing the results of the analysis, and examining the L1 negative transfers encountered in the interlanguage systems, the study has explored whether native speakers of the same L1 will develop the same learning process towards different languages. The results of the research endeavour have demonstrated that L1 has a very strong influence on foreign language acquisition and use. Moreover, the empirical research evidence has shown that in most aspects of students’ interlanguage systems, L1 influence is greater than other factors that lead to intralingual errors such as incomplete rule application and overgeneralisation. Specifically, the level of similarity between L1 and TL does not affect the considerable degree of L1 influence.


Keywords


Second Language Acquisition; Corpus Linguistics; Error Analysis; English; Spanish; Italian

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ISSN 2045-4031. University of Central Lancashire 2010-2013.