1 Introduction 简介
1.1 Needs for the Study
The relationship among people all over the world is becoming closer and closer with the integration of the global economy. There is no doubt that English has been widely used in people's daily life as well as international business and affairs. Now, people have paid much more attention and recognition to English learning. Therefore, the importance of learning English is obvious. However, English and Chinese belong to different language families, and each of them has its own complete system and different cultural background. There are many difficulties and obstacles during the process of English learning for most of the EFL(English as Foreign Language) learners. As an adult, they have owned complete knowledge structure and strong ability of logical reasoning with their mother tongue(MT). In other words, their language customs have been formed. Therefore, it is inevitable of the interference of Chinese in their English learning process.
It is widely accepted that a second or foreign language is strongly influenced by the learners' MT or the first language(L1). As Lado (1957) first put it, the process of influence from the MT is called language transfer, which occurs in every aspect of language learning including pronunciation, spelling, grammar, etc. Language transfer can be either positive or negative. When transfer result in something correct because the rules of the first and the second language overlap, this is referred to as positive transfer. By contrast, when transfer result in something incorrect, this is referred to as negative transfer, also known as interference(Dulay, 1982). The study of language transfer has been a hot issue for more than a century in the field of applied linguistics, second language(L2) acquisition and language teaching, especially negative transfer has been a major concern of both language teachers and language researchers.
Writing, the expression of ideas in written words, serves as the most important means of communication in conveying people's ideas and feelings. It has been regarded as a vital factor in successful worldwide communication and cooperation. However, compared with the other three basic skills, namely listening, speaking and reading, writing is the most tough to acquire. Therefore, in the process of teaching, we have paid more and more attention to the students' writing skills. But in fact, most of the Chinese students have much difficulty in writing correct and fluent sentences in English. It is very common for them to make various kinds of errors in their writings in English, although they have studied the language for about 6 years or more. They get used to taking Chinese as a medium and translating it into English, so as not to get much improvement after a two-year study of college English. The phenomenon of native language transfer can be easily found in their writing, and the errors caused by the negative transfer of the MT are the main problems in the students’ English writing. #p#分页标题#e#
In order to improve the language application ability and the significance of foreign language teaching, researchers have studied the appropriate theories and methods to understand and analyze errors. However, this phenomenon is still existing in the English learning process. The contrastive analysis, error analysis, interlanguage and language transfer are used in this paper as the basic skills to study the affection of the negative transfer of the MT in English writing and teaching. Through the study, we could understand the MT’s negative transfer correctly, use the language transfer adequately and find the appropriate strategies to overcome the difficulties caused by the negative transfer. The final target is to reduce the negative transfer, improve the English writing skills and English learning ability of the English learners. Thus, it is of great significance to have a further study in this thesis on the negative transfer of Chinese on college students' English writings.
1.2 Structure of the Thesis
This thesis is composed of five chapters. Chapter One serves as the introduction, including the significance and purpose of the study, research background. Chapter Two is theoretical basis and studies relevant to the research project, including some fundamental knowledge about language transfer, contrastive analysis, error analysis, and interlanguage theory. Chapter Three is concerned with research design: research questions, participants selected, research instruments and data collection steps are described respectively in this part. Chapter Four addresses data collection and analysis about the result of the study. Negative transfer of Chinese in morphology, lexical, syntax and discourse levels is discussed in detail. The conclusion is presented in Chapter Five, including major findings, some pedagogical implications, as well as limitations and suggestions for the further study.