ERIC Number: ED022161
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1968
Reference Count: N/A
Thoughts on Contrastive Linguistics in the Context of Language Teaching.
The use of contrastive analysis in foreign language teaching is based on five assumptions: (1) that the prime cause of difficulty and error in foreign language learning is interference from the learners' native language; (2) that these difficulties are due chiefly to the differences between the two languages; (3) that the greater these differences, the more acute the learning problems will be; (4) that a comparison between the two languages will predict difficulty and error; and (5) that this comparison should determine what is to be taught. The author feels, however, that it is not only the influence of the learner's native language which causes interference and that the very similarity of two languages may cause special interference problems. The best way to predict errors is through actual classroom observation by trained teachers since many errors are not revealed by contrastive analysis of structures and since some points of contrast do not cause confusion. Finally, the author feels that understanding and command of a language "grow up slowly within the learner as a whole thing," not as a series of difficulties mastered. In planning and teaching a language course the language itself should be kept in mind rather than the differences between two languages. Contrastive analysis is valuable but it should not be overemphasized in foreign language teaching. (JD)
Descriptors: Communication (Thought Transfer), Contrastive Linguistics, Interference (Language), Language Instruction, Second Language Learning, Teacher Role
Publications Department, School of Languages and Linguistics, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. 20007 (Monograph Series No. 21, $2.95).
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Georgetown Univ., Washington, DC. School of Languages and Linguistics.
Note: Article in Report of the 19th Annual Round Table Meeting on Ling. and Lang. Studies, Contrastive Linguistics and Its Pedagogical Implications.