ERIC Number: ED125252
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1976-Feb
Reference Count: N/A
Contrastive Analysis and French Gender, Remarks on a Study by Elaine Tarone, Uli Frauenfelder and Larry Selinker. Working Papers on Bilingualism, No. 8.
Before any conclusions can be drawn about the relative complexity of grammatical items, the items should be thoroughly analyzed. For example, learning to use French gender involves much more than learning to recognize formal characteristics which account for gender in nouns; it also requires that semantic gender features be mastered, so that correct forms will be connected with the right meanings. In this study, it is found that six subsets of nouns isolated on the basis of formal properties interact with four semantically classified subsets, yielding 48 "rules" to be learned. Furthermore, correct usage must be combined with adequate reference, which involves still another set of rules, differing not only in number but also in kind from the first two sets. Finally, it should be noted that gender and number, although both appear to involve only dichotomous choices, are not strictly comparable, as number has a diacritical function which gender does not have. (Author/DB)
Descriptors: Bilingualism, Contrastive Linguistics, Difficulty Level, Error Patterns, French, Grammar, Interference (Language), Language Instruction, Linguistic Difficulty (Inherent), Morphology (Languages), Nouns, Plurals, Second Language Learning, Semantics, Spelling
Bilingual Education Project, The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, 252 Bloor St. West, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 1V6 (as long as supply lasts)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Ontario Inst. for Studies in Education, Toronto. Bilingual Education Project.