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Volume :19 Issue : 76 2001      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

The Interference of Arabic Syntax in EFL Learning

Auther : Ahmad Hasan

The phenomenon of first language (L1) interference in the learning of a foreign language has been extensively discussed; however, most of the accounts that approach this problem are unsatisfactory as they fail to explain this issue systematically.

In this paper, I address one aspect of L1 interference in learning a foreign language, namely the interference of arabic syntax in the learning of English by Arab students. I demonstrate how errors in grammar resulting from L1 interference have been dealt with from the “error analysis” and “contrastive analysis” perspectives. However, I argue that these two models are actually inadequate as they both fail to attain explanatory power. As an alternative, I argue that Chomsky’s (1981, 1986, and 1995) model of grammar, as presented in the Government and Binding theory, is adequate not only to describe but also to explain these errors. Furthermore, I show how the account which I adopt enables us to explain the predictability of these errors in that it predicts which errors are likely to occur as a result of Arabic interference in learning English as a foreign language. More significantly, I show how the Government and Binding framework, through its principles and parameters, offers more insight into what happens in the learner’s mind than the other models do. I believe that such a conclusion is worth pursuing.

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