English is the third widely spoken language on earth and is one which most people in non-English speaking nations are learning as the second language. The acquisition of the second language is a process that is dependent on many factors that range from personal aspects to the L2 relationship to the L1. In this paper I will discuss similarities and differences of Vietnamese and English. I will also discuss factors that affect the learning and acquisition process (Emmitt, et al. 97).
Since the two languages originate from Latin, they have a lot of similarities in terms of sentence formation, words, syntax, morphology and phonology. One of the most stunning similarities is the alphabetical letter though differ in number. Both languages have significantly loaned from French and Chinese. . There are significant differences too that hinder the acquisition process. Vietnamese belong to the Austro-Asiatic family of languages (George 256) in modern days Vietnamese have had a great deal of western influence and English words and phrases are becoming common
One of the most stunning similarities between Vietnamese and English is the alphabetical order. Vietnamese alphabet includes almost all English alphabets except F, J, W and Z and additional which are unique to Vietnamese. Such English alphabet is however used occasionally in the situation of loaned words (Haudricourt 89-104). Just like English Vietnamese has evolved and slightly change due to the inhabitants of Chinese and the French. Vietnamese have more alphabets that English and this fact may make it easier for a Vietnamese native speaker like Van to learn English. (Thomson 155)
Phoneme is the smallest unit of language that can stand alone. English phonemes are made of a consonant and a vowel and do not usually employ lexicon tonal variation except when stressing a point and in some few instances where the first syllable of a verb is stressed to make it a noun. Vietnamese in the other hand relays on tones to depict the different meanings that are carried by a single word. There is a variation between southern and northern Vietnamese in terms of intonation but the variation is extreme and the two groups (from the north and south) understand each other well. There are six different intonations in the northern Vietnam that are used to differentiate meanings of words with same spelling. English and Vietnamese have a lot of similarities in sound but there are a unique consonant and vowel sounds to each language. Such similarities make the L2 acquisition process easier since it is in a way related to the L1.
Morphology of Vietnamese is simple and usually marked by tense indicators. Unlike English, Vietnamese don’t change the verb tense but instate compensate this with tense markers. Such difference in not much and L2 acquisition is first due to close relationship. This fact as brought some challenge as well, Vietnamese L2 learners do not change the verb when talking about the past (Lightbown, et al. 46). There is a variation in the arrangement of words specifically the adjectives (modifying word or phrase). Vietnamese place the adjective after the subject noun different from the tradition f English.
Physiological factors affecting l2 acquisition.
Language acquisition is a process that is depended on a number of factors ranging from physiological to environmental (Gibbons 33). Young people and infants are amazingly fast if the acquisition of languages. As in the case of Van the perception of the language is fast and free from hindering factors that grownups are prone to hindering factors like prejudice. With exception to cognitive aspects, individual variation, age and environment of learning largely affect the acquisition process. Children learn faster. Debate is on reasons why children learn second language fast. This unique ability may be attributed to the fact that children have not had extreme effects of the L1 and other reasons. Female learners have a better use of strategy compared to male learners. At a tender age like that of Van, intelligence level of the learner and the approach are exceptionally related to the entire process (Madrigal, et al. 47).
The absence of native speakers back in Vietnam lowers rather perception rate. Motivation is one big factor. If Van is anxious of meeting his family then he will be emotionally attached to the learning process and this will make him learn faster. Social interaction with native speakers will fasten the perception process of L2. The learner picks words from colleagues and gets time to practice them. Environment also plays an important role in L2. Class room environment will at first focus on vocabulary and words but barely get time to practice what has been learned. In a social environment the learning quite mechanical and the learner may even perceive the language before he knows it (Benati 51).
Motivation is an important factor though to children it is brought up through minor promises. The case of Van is unique for he already grown to an age where he can recognize things. Children may enjoy acquisition of 2nd language without clear motive or compelled in some instances.
The anxiety that he is going to meet his family may also positively influence his acquisition process. Social factors that revolve around Van’s acquisition process is the presence of L1 native speakers, family and environment. In a part time school environment, learning is basic and introductory and will not do much to speaking like social interaction would (Lightwoth, et al. 49).
The learning of second language is affected by many variables. The effects of the first language are not extreme in children and this enables them to quickly blend to the new language. Learning is a process that would not be complete without social interaction and practice.
The presence of many similarities between Vietnamese and English will minimize confusion and positively affect the second language acquisition. When acquiring l2 the purpose and the intention of the language matters. When l2 is intended for professionalism, the learning is more demanding and strict adherence to program is evident. But in the case Van learning flexible and the intention of trainer is to give him some principles that will help him in interaction and developing conversation.
Chinese compared to English (Case 2)
One main factor that affects L2 acquisition is the similarities of the L1 to L2. Other factors may include personal circumstances like the level of literacy and age.
Mandarin Chinese language dialect is one of widely spoken language of the world. Chinese is spoken by 16% of world’s population. It belongs to the Sino-Tibetan family of languages (Charles p.2). It is a unique language in the sense that it has a number of varieties in it that are sometimes referred to as dialects. One might say Chinese is the most complicated language of the world but every language has its diversities and complexity. In this paper I am to compare and contrast Chinese to English which is originally a West German language that has spread across the world and is the third mostly spoken after the Mandarin and Spanish. I will also discuss factors that affect the learning process by a Chinese speaker. Taking a case of a Chinese immigrant who is acquiring English as a second language, I will highlight factors that surround the acquisition of l2. Such factors may either have positive or negative impacts on the acquisition of l2.
Notable difference between Chinese and English
English started as a diver dialect but it is quite unintelligible language today. Chinese on the other hand has a range of seven to thirteen categories including Mandarin, wu, Yeu and min in odder of their popularity. Despite the believe that almost all languages of the world originated from few early languages, differences between English and Chinese are much and to same extend such differences affect English learning process by a Chinese speaker. For the sake of simplicity I will disgusts three bases of distinction. Morphemes, phonemes and alphabets
Alphabet vs. logography
All English words are formed from 26 letters. This letters are arranged to make words, contrary to Chinese where logographic simples to represent words. This can be a challenge for a Native Chinese speaker to learn how to write and read English words. The following are major differences beside grammar and vocabulary. (Norman 46)
Chinese pinyin differ greatly with English phonetics. There are 24 vowels and 21 consonants in standard Chinese. They are basically the combination of a consonant with a vowel. English has more vowel sounds compared to Chinese. This fact may present difficulty to native Chinese speakers learning second language. Some English vowels sounds may not be present in Chinese. English intonation (change of pitch) is rarely used to show differences in words but commonly to stress a point or express emotion. Diphthongs that result from excess vowels have single vowel sound like the case of weigh. In Chinese different words are stressed differently to bring out different meanings (Norman 39)
Last consonant sound that occasionally appear in English words are not common with Chinese speakers
Derivation of words in Chinese language is quite different from English. Some languages like Chinese do not have many identifiable morphemes and there are instances where one character represents a word. Unlike English Chinese, Most Chinese words are single syllable although modern Mandarin is disyllabic. Chinese language (in this case Mandarin and standard Chinese is considered) has only 1,200 syllables compared to English that has 8,000 (DeFrance 92).
The reduction of phonological aspects of Chinese dialects has led to emerging of numerous homophones. Chinese have difficult in grasping all the syllables that are available for the formation of English words. Chinese depend on sentences structure and word odder in language development rather than Morphological aspects (Norman 64). Chinese words have little grammatical inflection, it has indicators of plural but words cannot pluralized, no tenses and has no numbers. The back bone of English language is the grammar that is highly depended on tenses of verbs. This aspect may make the learning of L2 quite difficult. The absence of articles in Chinese language is not a major difference but yet a confusing phenomenon in learning English as second language. The introduction of articles in the L2 may at a glance scare the learner but there are other simplicities in English that a Chinese native speaker can easily learn (Brown Says His Serious Style Is What UK Needs 2014).
Similarities between Chinese and English
Despite great deal of differences L1 and L2, there are syntax similarities that that may ease the learning L2. Chinese simple sentence just like English has a subject a predicate and an object. This makes the learning of L2 simpler and realistic.
The place where measure words are used in English is the same position where they are used in Chinese for instance newspaper and Zhiboazhi. This makes the learning process simpler as well.
One of the most stunning similarities between Chinese and English is the sentence structure and word odder for instance object-verb- subject.
Psychological aspects that affect second language acquisition
While it has been noted that children develop second language faster than grownups, this variation has been attributed to psychological aspects that encompass motivation, anxiety and self-confidence (Krashen 101)
Psychological factors like the perception of L2 greatly affect the rate and degree of L2 acquisition. If the learner perceives that l2 acquisition is supposed to make L2 a native language may hinder the development l2. Other aspects like low self esteem and demoralization by cases room factors also hinder the acquisition of L2.
Learner’s takes interest in social network and haves a positive view on it may quickly acquire the second language because of language influence. Social factors may also affect pronunciation especially for younger persons. Personal attitude and commitment to acquiring L2 has great influence as well. (Ammon 29)
The Acquisition process of l2 is affected by a number of factors. Personal attitudes and psychological factors play a major role. Prejudice and unwillingness to dig into the encouraging side of L2 like English. There are many similarities between English and Chinese that are ignored making English learners shy away from acquiring L2.
Similarities and variation between Chinese may be relative but similarities in most occasions have been ignored or given little emphasis. This has created a negative attitude that would otherwise be changed by factual representations.
Works cited-case 1
Benati, Alessandro G. Issues in Second Language Proficiency. London: Continuum, 2009. Print.
Driem, George Van. Languages of the Himalayas: An Ethnolinguistic Handbook of the Greater
Emmitt, Marie, and Matthew D. Zbaracki. Language & Learning: An Introduction for
Teaching. Canadian ed. Print
Gibbons, Pauline. Scaffolding Language, Scaffolding Learning: Teaching Second Language
Learners in the Mainstream Classroom. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2002. Print.
Himalayan Region: Containing an Introduction to the Symbiotic Theory of Language.
Leiden: Brill, 2001. Print.
Haudricourt, André-Georges. 2010. “The Origin of the Peculiarities of the Vietnamese Alphabet.” Mon-Khmer Studies 39: 89–104.
Lightbown, Patsy M., and Nina Spada. How Languages Are Learned Patsy M. Lightbown and Nina Spada. 2nd Ed., Rev. ed. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1999. Print
Thompson, Laurence (1959) “Saigon phonemics” language (Language vol. 35, No. 3) 35 (3): 454-476, doi 10.2307/411232
Works cited –Case 2
Ammon, Ulrich. Sociolinguistics an International Handbook of the Science of Language and Society = Soziolinguistik. 2nd Completely Rev. and Extended ed. Berlin: W. De Gruyter, 2006 Print.
Brown Says His Serious Style Is What UK Needs." AP Worldstream 23 Sept. 2008. Web. 7 Dec. 2014. <http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1A1-D93CKO7G7.html>
DeFrancis, John. The Chinese Language Fact and Fantasy. Honolulu: U of Hawaii, 1984. Print. Lightbown, Patsy, and Nina Margaret Spada."One."How Languages Are Learned. 3rd ed Oxford England: Oxford UP, 2006. Print
Emmitt, Marie, and Matthew D. Zbaracki. Language & Learning: An Introduction for Teaching. Canadian ed. 1999. Print
Norman, Jerry. Chinese. Cambridge [Cambridgeshire: Cambridge UP, 1988. Print.