Essay on Intralingual Errors in English

Language Transfer: L2 Intralingual Errors Essay Sample

People are often required to adopt a different language to ease communication and the institutional learning process. However, mastering a second language is not a seamless fete. It is common for a speaker to apply linguistic features of one language to the other. Language transfer has proved to be a hurdle for bilingual and multilingual speakers. Traces of the first language (L1), usually the dominant language, can be spotted in the second language (L2). A variety of factors influence language transference, including contextual factors, developmental factors, and individual factors. One of the ways to mitigate language transference is understanding the errors made that lead to transference.

Different contexts influence different magnitudes of language transfer. The context in which the speaker is learning a second or third language plays a key role in the extent of errors the speaker makes. Macro-contextual factors such as institutional or natural learning environments minimize the errors that one makes in their L2. Micro-contextual factors, on the other hand increase the probability of negative transfer as the speaker is likely to pay attention to their L1 features in an attempt to communicate in L2. The other prominent factor in language transference involves the circumstances surrounding the individual.

Individual factors such as the age of the speaker when learning a new language and the language aptitude are a key determinant on how erratic their L2 will be. Learners who start learning an L2 at a young age generally achieve a more polished accent compared to learners that start later, to an extent of becoming totally native-like in their L2 speech. It is believed that the older the person is, the more established they are in their L1 and hence the more influence their L1 has over L2. In the case of developmental factors, the order of acquisition as well as the sequence of acquisition determines the errors a learner will make. The ‘natural’ order of speech is affected if a grammatical arrangement that has meaning in the L2 does not translate the same meaning in the L1. The sequence of acquisition is relevant in that can both accelerate or decelerate the understanding of L2. With such factors in mind, it is evident that errors are bound to happen that lead to language transfer.

The English language is the most prevalent language all around the world. Being the go to language in major institutions across the globe, instructors have noted the errors of language transfer even in written English from students whose L1 is not English. Burhansyah (2019) argues that errors that L2 learners commit can either be production or comprehension. “A comprehension error occurs when the learner misunderstands a sentence or an utterance. For example, s/he is unable to distinguish the sounds /ei/ and /e/ in sentences such as the following: ‘pass me the paper’ and ‘pass me the pepper’.” (Burhansyah 72). Such errors are however easily ignored as lack comprehension can not be attributed to failure in utterances. Other errors carry a heavier load in comprehension of L2.

Errors in L2 occur in form of sentence structure remodeling for the English language. Take for instance a Japanese student. Articles, use of prepositions, and incorrect verb tense are errors noted in their speech and writing (Long et al., 118). Additionally, subject-verb agreement forms are often not followed. Intralingual as well as interlingual errors are common in exchange program students from regions that have other languages as the primary language (Sani and Eny 90). There is a need to focus on getting students to use the grammatical forms in different contexts and interactions in order for Japanese students to truly master these grammatical forms. Conclusively, shedding more light on language transfer would make it easier to understand and mitigate the errors.

Works Cited
Burhansyah, Burhansyah. “Analysis of Error Sources in L2 Written English by Indonesian Undergraduate Students.” Studies in English Language and Education vol. 6, no. 1, 2019, pp. 71-83.
Long, Robert, and Yui Hatcho. “The First Language’s Impact on L2: Investigating Intralingual and Interlingual Errors.” English Language Teaching vol. 11, no. 11, 2018, pp. 115-121.
Sari, Eny and Maulita Purnama. “Interlingual Errors and Intralingual Errors found in Narrative Text Written by EFL Students in Lampung.” Jurnal Penelitian Humaniora vol. 17, no. 2, 2016, pp. 87-95.
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