ERIC Number: EJ957029
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Dec
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 42
Possibility of Crosslingual Transfer: A Comparative Study of Chinese (L1) and English (L2) Lessons
He, An E.
Modern Language Journal, v95 suppl s1 p64-80 Dec 2011
This article reports a comparative study of first language (L1) Chinese and second language (L2) English lessons in Hong Kong secondary schools. Aiming to explore how to take advantage of L1 academic proficiency for the benefit of L2 development, the study asked how Chinese and English lessons compare in terms of the content knowledge covered and the levels and depth of such coverage. Through a corpus-aided approach, 3 differences were identified, namely, the "aboutness" of the lessons through a keyword analysis, the "abstractness" reflected in the use of metalanguage, and the "richness in coverage" of meanings in classrooms. The findings indicated that the Chinese lessons were either text-based, involving discussion of literary concepts in metalanguage, or task-based, engaging students in debating about a current issue, while English lessons were based on linguistic knowledge and composed mainly of discrete grammatical drills through simple classroom routines. This article argues that the 3 differences identified were deficiencies in the L2 classrooms. However, they could also be areas where crosslingual transfer might be possible. Constant exposure to literary text-related concepts and cognitively complex tasks in the L1 may lead to students' development of academic language proficiency; such proficiency could be capitalized for the development of academic proficiency in the L2.
Descriptors: Academic Discourse, Foreign Countries, Comparative Analysis, English (Second Language), Language Proficiency, Chinese, Transfer of Training, Second Language Learning, Computational Linguistics, Teaching Methods, Second Language Instruction, Grammar, Pattern Drills (Language), Metalinguistics, Task Analysis
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Hong Kong