Essay about English As A Second Language

Essay about English As A Second Language

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Spanish and English may both be widely spoken languages, however English is becoming more and more prevalent as a second language. For this project I interviewed an acquaintance who speaks Spanish as a first language and English as a second language. Spanish and English are similar in aspects such as grammar (in that they are both SVO—subject, verb, object—languages) and vocabulary (since both were influenced by Latin) (Shoebottom n.d.), however they are also quite different, especially in their phonology. These differences are what made learning it as a second language a little more difficult for this interviewee.
Of these differences, the interviewee stated that one of the most challenging parts about learning English was the gender differentiation (as seen in question number five of the questionnaire). The interviewee stated: “In Spanish we use ‘su’ to represent both the masculine and feminine. So a lot of times when I was younger I would get confused on the genders.” As we discussed it, she continued on to say that as she was learning English it was sometimes easier for her to simply avoid gendered pronouns because of the difference from Spanish. This seems to a native English speaker (such as myself and a student I discussed this interview and its results with) to be a simple aspect of the English language; one that is so engrained in our minds that we do not even have to think twice about it. However, when one stops to take into consideration the idea that even this small detail can change a language completely, it is easier to understand the interviewee’s difficulty with English.
She also provided that the pronunciation of “s” words such as “school” also tended to trip her up. She naturally pronounced it with a /e/ added ...


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...uage diversity in people who I know well limited my interview to questions that did not get too personal and it did not allow the interviewee to delve too deeply into their details. Since we are only acquaintances (not friends, family, etc.) it was more difficult to find the important connection to make this project as rounded as it could have been.
However, one strength that I noticed was my ability to draw out more details than were originally given. The interviewee was reluctant at first to provide too much information, which is understandable since we have only met and spoken a handful of times. Nonetheless, we were able to get to know each other better in the amount of time that the interview took. This is a strength because I was able to make this interviewee feel as though this were not just an interview, but it was a chance for me to get to know her better.

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