NORDSCI Conference proceedings 2021, Book 1

Language and linguistics

SECOND FOREIGN LANGUAGE ACQUISITION: THE INFLUENCE OF STUDENTS’ FIRST FOREIGN LANGUAGE ON LEXICAL SKILLS DEVELOPMENT IN ENGLISH FOR SPECIAL PURPOSES

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Olga Maximova, Dr. Tatiana Maykova

ABSTRACT

Globalization and intercultural communication are stepping up the demands for modern specialists’ linguistic competencies. To provide successful professional communication, competitiveness and mobility, the graduates of higher education are to master two or more foreign languages. In this regard, it seems important to study the features of multilingual education, identify the difficulties that arise in multilingual teaching and outline the ways to overcome them. Although, there is a number of studies devoted to the impact of the native language on foreign language acquisition, the issue of learners’ first and second foreign language interaction seems to be inadequately treated and there is a lack of research on factors that increase learners’ second foreign language proficiency in three-language contact (i.e., their native, first and second foreign language). In particular, little attention is paid to cross-linguistic skills transfer or to lexical interference patterns that arise among students mastering their second foreign language.
This paper is devoted to lexical interference that occurs when English for Special Purposes (ESP) is taught as the second foreign language to university students studying French or Spanish as their first foreign language. The purpose of the work is to identify which language(-s) are the source of interference through analyzing students’ errors. The hypotheses of the study are as follows: in case of receptive activity (reading) the language which is closely related to the target language will serve as the source of positive transfer. In productive activity (writing and speaking) lexical interference will arise and play a significant role. The source of interference will be learners’ first foreign language. To test the hypotheses, a pilot study was conducted, during which typical lexical errors of Russian-speaking students studying ESP as their second foreign language and French or Spanish as their first foreign language were identified. The control group were students with native Russian language and English as their first foreign language. The research methodology included questionnaires, testing and interviews. The research participants were RUDN University students. The results of the study confirm the presence of positive transfer and lexical interference in ESP terminology acquisition, the source of which is learners’ first foreign language. Learners’ typical mistakes are associated with the use of articles, prepositions, adjective order, fully and partially assimilated cognates, depend on their language experience and are due to their first foreign language interference

KEYWORDS

multilingualism, lexical interference, foreign language, English for Special Purposes, error analysis

REFERENCE

NORDSCI International Conference 2021, Book 1, Conference Proceedings, ISSN 2603-4111, ISBN 978-619-7495-14-4, SECOND FOREIGN LANGUAGE ACQUISITION: THE INFLUENCE OF STUDENTS’ FIRST FOREIGN LANGUAGE ON LEXICAL SKILLS DEVELOPMENT IN ENGLISH FOR SPECIAL PURPOSES, 235-244 pp, DOI paper 10.32008/NORDSCI2021/B1/V4/21