Research when acquiring these two languages whether English or

Research Comparison and Reflection
Paper

In SLA, transfer was
often characterized as “interference” (Ortega 2009, p.31) because a learner’s
knowledge of their first language (L1) would seemingly interfere with their
acquisition of a second (or additional) language (L2). According to Ortega
(2009), knowledge of two (or more) languages can accelerate the learning of an
additional one, and all previously known languages can influence knowledge of
and performance in an L3. In other word, a learner’s understanding of the
systems in their native or second language would cause problems when acquiring
a new language.                                                                        The idea
that L1 knowledge could cause specific issues when acquiring an L2 or L3 gave
rise to the Contrastive Analysis Hypothesis (CAH), which stated that a learner’
L1 background caused errors in their L2, and that patterns of error could be
predicated based on the linguistic features from  students’L1 and L2 (Ortega 2009, p.31).
However, it was soon found that learners did not only struggle with features
that their language did not have. For example, Koike and Palmiere (2011),
demonstrated that L1 Spanish speakers learning English and L1 English speakers
learning Spanish did not have equal degree of competence when acquiring these
two languages whether English or Spanish. Thus, it was shown that the CAH could
not always accurately predict which features of a new language learners would
struggle with based on the differences between L1 and L2 alone (p.82). However,
it still a good means for language teachers to make some prediction about which
features of English their students may have difficulty with based on their
students’ L1 or L2.                                                                                                                         In fact, these previous statements by Ortega
in chapter three had inspired me to ask the question “what if the target
language that students aim to learn has many similar linguistic features to
their L1 or L2, I wonder if the students would find it easy or complex to
acquire”. Thus, I have chosen two articles that address the case of
Spanish-English bilinguals’ acquisition of Portuguese since as known Spanish and Portuguese are
considerably related languages that share many similar linguistic features and
lexical items. Basically, the chosen articles focused on the role of typological
distance and order of acquisition and the transfer of F1 and L2 pragmatic
expression when acquiring Portuguese as an L3. This paper will address my
comparison for the two articles in term of their key findings, as well as  providing  a discussion in respect of what I have learned
from comparing these two articles and how did it help me to gain a significant
understanding of the across-linguistic influence in the third language
acquisition particularly.          

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