ERIC Number: ED233603
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983
Reference Count: 0
Second-Language Study and First-Language Literacy: Old Arguments and New Perspectives.
The view that foreign language study contributes significantly to literacy in the native language is discussed from the perspectives of a foreign language teacher who also teaches English composition. It is suggested that there is a need for research and publications on the benefits of second language study on native language growth and on cognitive growth in general. Benefits traditionally claimed for foreign language study include the enhancement of vocabulary in the mother tongue, learning grammar (i.e., linguistic features and principles and literacy), syntactic fluency, and the ability to pronounce foreign words and proper names. It is suggested that when foreign language students practice shifts and transformations of tense and voice, the same operations are being made silently in the mother tongue. Moreover, many freshman English students have a defective tense system and difficulty in the use of the perfect tenses. It is noted that sentence-combining exercises are valuable, and that translation into English is an excellent writing exercise. It is recommended that students be made aware of the contribution of foreign language study to their linguistic knowledge and first-language skills and that foreign language teachers should assess and improve students' first-language proficiencies. In addition, it is suggested that foreign language teachers should communicate more with linguistics and English composition teachers. (SW)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Central States Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (St. Louis, MO, March 25, 1983).