Spanish Influence on English Learning

Topics: English language, Vowel, German language Pages: 5 (928 words) Published: August 17, 2010
Spanish Influence on English Learning

By Rozita Bron

Table of contents

1. Introduction

1.1 Who Speaks Spanish …….……………………………………2

1.2 Origins and Other Language Influences ..…………………2

2. Writing

1. The Spanish Alphabet …..………………………………………2

3. Phonology

3.1 Specific problems for Spanish learners ……………………3

4. Grammar

4.1 Verb/Tense ………………………………………………3

4.2 Vocabulary ………………………………………………3

4.3 Other ………………………………………………………4

5. References …..……………………………………………………………4

1. Introduction

1.1. Who Speaks Spanish?

From 2010[update], more than 360 million people speak Spanish as a native language and a total of 417 million people speak it worldwide. It is the second most natively spoken language in the world (after Mandarin Chinese). Spanish is also one of the six official languages of the United Nations.

1.2 Classification and Other Language Influences

Spanish is a Latin based language, closely related to Italian and Portuguese and is classified as a Romance language. After Latin, the language that has had the biggest influence on Spanish is Arabic. Today, the foreign language exerting the most influence is English, and Spanish has adopted hundreds of English words related to technology and culture.

2. Writing

2.1. The Alphabet

Spanish uses the Latin alphabet, with the addition of ‹ñ› - /ɲ/; ‹ch› - /t͡ʃ/; and ‹ll› - /ʎ/). The following 29 letters make up the Spanish allphabet:
a, b, c, ch, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, ll, m, n, ñ, o, p, q, r, s, t, u, v, w, x, y, z

Spanish speakers do not struggle with the writing of English letters, because the alphabets are obviously more similar that not.

3. Phonology

On the other hand, English and Spanish phonology are very different. Particularly with vowel sounds and sentence stress. These differences are very serious obstacles to Spanish learners. Spanish has 5 pure vowels and 5 diphthongs. The length of the vowel is not significant in distinguishing between words. English has 12 pure vowel sounds and 8 diphthongs. Spanish learners can have great difficulty in understanding and producing the various English vowel sounds. Specific problems include the failure to distinguish the sounds in words such as dip/deep, taught/tot, fool/full or cart/cat/cut. Spanish is also a syllable-timed language. When Spanish speakers transfer the intonation patterns of their mother tongue into English (a stress-timed language), it is almost incomprehensible to native English speakers.

3.1 Specific problems for Spanish learners

• failure to pronounce the end consonant accurately or strongly enough: cart for the English word card or brish for bridge or thing for think • problems with the /v/ in words such as vowel or survive • difficulties in sufficiently distinguishing words such as see/she or jeep/sheep/cheap • the tendency to prefix words beginning with a consonant cluster on s- with an /ε/ sound: straight becomes estraight and scholar becomes escholar • the swallowing of sounds in other consonant clusters: next becomes nes and instead becomes istead.

4. Grammar

4.1 Verb/Tense

Even though Spanish is a much more heavily inflected language than English, there are many aspects of verb grammar that are similar. The major problem for the Spanish learner is that there is no one-to-one correspondence in the use of the tenses. A Spanish learner might incorrectly use a simple tense instead of a progressive or a future one: I help you after school instead of I'll help you after school. A problem for beginners is the formation of interrogatives or negatives in English. The absence of an auxiliary in such structures in Spanish may cause learners to say: Why you say that? / Who he saw? / Do you saw him? / I no see him. / I not saw him.

4.2 Vocabulary

Due to shared Latin influence English and Spanish have many cognates, and...

References: http://en.wikipedia.org
Coe, N. in Swan, M. & Smith, B. Learner English: A teacher 's guide to interference and other problems. (1987) Cambridge University Press.
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