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Aspects of Arabic Language Interference in Acquiring

English as a Second Language


By
Mahmoud Moawad Sokar
Assistant Lecturer-The Higher Institute for Specific Studies

Assistant Lecture-Al Madina Higher Institute for international languages

PhD Studies PortSaid University, MA. Holder

Teaching English Educational Diploma

Translator

mahmoudmawad87@gmail.com

Abstract:

Language acquisition is defined as the process by which humans can gain the

ability to produce words and sounds for communicative purpose. This process

includes the natural process of learning the mother tongue and the artificial method of

learning a second language.

The contradiction between these two natural and artificial processes is called

Language transfer or mother language interference. This interference implies speakers

or writers using knowledge from one language to another language. One of them is

his mother language whereas the other is the new acquired language. Arabic language

is considered one of the most influential mother languages on the process of acquiring

second language as it is an old language, with strong cultural roots.

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Consequently, the suggested study aims to highlight and discuss the aspects of

Arabic language interference in acquiring English as a Second Language, through

defining the problem, tracking its roots, and analyzing its features.

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Table of Content:

Method and Tools----------------------------------------------------------------------3

Introduction-----------------------------------------------------------------------------3

Review of Literature-------------------------------------------------------------------4

Acquiring English as a Second Language-------------------------------------------5

Arabic Language Interference in Acquiring English as a Second Language----5

Cultural problems in Acquiring English as a Second Language -----------------6

Conclusion------------------------------------------------------------------------------7

Key Words------------------------------------------------------------------------------8

Works Cited-----------------------------------------------------------------------------9

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Method and Tools:

The present study adopts an analytical approach. It will expound a theoretical

frame work that focuses on language interference in acquiring English as a second

Language Moreover, it attempts at casting a shadow on the main features and

principles of language interference. Focusing on some selected examples the present s

study will further trace the above mentioned problem in order to suggest solutions for

this problem.

Introduction:

Arabic is considered one of the most culturally influential languages as it is a

well-established language as well as it is very highly rhetorical language. Arabic

language is a Central Semitic language complex that first appeared in Iron Age

northwestern Arabia and is now the lingua franca of the Arab world. Arabic Language

is an old wide language so it affected many other languages. Additionally, it has a

great impact on the process of Second-language acquisition.

Second language is any language learned in addition to the mother language.

The concept is named second-language acquisition; however, it also may involve

learning more than one language. The influence of Arabic language as a mother

tongue has been most important in Islamic countries, because it is the language of the

Islamic sacred book, the Quran. Thus, the learners of these countries face many

problems in learning English as a second language due to the powerful impact of

Arabic as a mother language (Henke 109).

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Literature Review:

Many Prior studies have identified and analyzed mother language interference

in acquiring English as a second language by defining this interference (Weinreich

1953) and casting a shadow of lights on its features, reasons, and kinds. Focusing on

the relation between mother language and second language, these studies aimed at

exploring the main features of this phenomenon (Jarvis & Pavlenko2008). During the

last decades this phenomena has developed to represent individual theory. This theory

manifests the analysis of proactive interference and negative transfer in psychology

(Chang & Mishler 2012). Other studies present a research review about the

difficulties which Arabic speaking learners of English as a foreign language due to the

interference of the native language - Arabic language - into their production of target

language (EssaysUK. 2013).

Besides all the above mentioned studies, the present study aims at identified

and analyzed mother language interference in acquiring English as a second language

Consequently, casting a shadow of light in this phenomenon, will result in facilitating

the process acquiring English as a second language for Arabs.

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Acquiring English as a Second Language

Acquiring English as a second language is the process by which people learn a

second language. Language acquisition is defined as the process by which humans

can gain the ability to produce words and sounds for communicative purposes

(Denham, K., & Lobeck, 4). This process includes the natural process of learning the

mother tongue and the artificial method of learning a second language.

Second language refers to any language learned in addition to a person's

mother language. The term refers to what learners do to acquire one language or

more. Consequently, it may involve third language, fourth language, etc. Moreover,

the term acquisition was originally used to emphasize the non-conscious process of

learning, however, in recent years learning and acquisition have become

interchangeably used (Haynes 7).

The major concern in the ESl arena is the idea that the language that learners

use is not simply the result of differences between his mother language and the

process of acquiring English as a second language.

Arabic Language Interference in Acquiring English as a Second

Language:

Arabic language has a great influence on many countries especially Islamic

countries due to the emergence of Islamic culture and the strong presence of Islam

holy book, the Quran In addition, English has many Arabic loanwords, some directly,

but most via other Mediterranean languages (Molter and Edzard 18).

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Many words in English and other European languages are derived from Arabic

origin, often through other European languages, especially Spanish and Italian.

Among them are commonly used words like coffee ( qahwah), "cotton" (

qun), and magazine ( makhzin). English words more recognizably of Arabic

origin include algebra, alcohol, "alchemy, "alkali, zenith, and nadir

(Langone et al 378).

There are many aspects of Arabic interference in acquiring English as a

second language, such as replacing p with b this interference occurs due to the

existence of one sound and letter of ( Arabic B-P), whereas there are two different

equivalents in English language, besides this aspect of interference, there other

aspects such as dropping e and adding e. (Baloch 227-231).Moreover, there are

some features of interference which occurs due to grammatical differences such as

omitting verbs as there Arabic sentences which does not contain a verb, whereas all

English verbs contains a verb. Another feature of Arabic interference occurs because

of the absence of verbal sentences in English, while Arabic language adopts both

verbal and nominal sentences (Ziadeh& Winde 23-30).

Acquiring English as a Second Language and Culture

Native language interference affects all language aspects. Consequently,

analyzing the interference point of the mother language would reinforce the process

acquiring English as a second language.

Arab Learners of English as a second language transfer the forms, meaning

and culture of their L1 to English language (Wahba 53). In this regard, there are

several linguistic ways that differences between British American English culture and

Arabian culture. Arabic language contains many other examples of language that does

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not translate, so the translators here use transliteration or which is defined as a type of

conversion of a text from one script to another (Kharusi & Salman 1-27)

Learning a new language while living in another culture involves interference

and contradiction between the second language culture and the learners mother

language culture. Here, the learner must adjust to a new culture, without necessarily

giving up one's first culture. (Daz-Rico& Weed 245-247) Here, an important question

emerges: How can the process of acquiring English as a second language avoid this

cultural interference? To avoid this dilemma it is necessary to take the advantage of

acquiring second language during critical period in which the process of acquiring

language becomes easier and more effective ((Kouyoumdjian and Plotnik 318). For

adults, neglecting the importance and the effectiveness of critical period creates a

gap between the fundamentals of teaching English and the practical use of language in

everyday life.

Conclusion:

Language acquisition is defined as the process by which humans can gain the

ability to produce words and sounds for communication. This process is impeded by a

contradiction between mother language interference. This interference occurs due to

differences between the two languages. Besides these differences, the cultural factor

is very vital in this process of interference. Arabic language has a great influence on

many countries especially Islamic countries due to the emergence of Islamic culture

and the strong presence of Islam. Besides presenting some features and examples of

the phenomenon of first language interference, the study emphasizes the importance

of learning English as a second language during the critical period for avoiding

mother language interference.

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Key Words:

ESL (English as a second language)

L1 (Arabic) Interference in Learning L2 (English)

Mother Tongue

Second Language

Target Language

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Works Cited:

Baloch, S. S. (2013). l1 (Arabic) interference in learning l2 (English): An analysis of

English spelling used by Arabic Speakers at Undergraduate level-a case study.

European Scientific Journal, ESJ, 9(16)

Denham, K., & Lobeck, A. (2012). Linguistics for everyone: An introduction.

Cengage Learning.

Daz-Rico, L. T., & Weed, K. Z. (2006). The crosscultural, language, and academic

development handbook (3rd ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Edzard, L., & Molter, W. (1998). Language as a medium of legal norms. Duncker &

Humblot.

Essays, UK. (November 2013). Arabic Language Interference In Learning English

Language English Language Essay.

Haynes, J. (2007). Getting started with English language learners: How educators can

meet the challenge. ASCD.

Henke, H. (Ed.). (2005). Crossing over: comparing recent migration in the United

States and Europe. Lexington Books.

Kharusi, N. S. & Salman, A. (2011) The English Transliteration of Place Names in

Oman. Journal of Academic and Applied Studies Vol. 1(3) September 2011,

pp. 127

Langone, A. D. Olivier Durand, Angela Daiana Langone, Giuliano Mion (Eds.).

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Plotnik, R., & Kouyoumdjian, H. (2013). Introduction to psychology. Cengage

Learning.

Wahba, K. (2014). Handbook for Arabic language teaching professionals in the 21st

century. Routledge.

Ziadeh, F. J., & Winder, R. B. (2003). An introduction to modern Arabic. Courier

Corporation.

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