EjSBS - The European Journal of Social & Behavioural Sciences

The European Journal of Social & Behavioural Sciences

Online ISSN: 2301-2218
European Publisher

The Mother Tongue in the Foreign Language: An Account of Russian L2 Learners’ Error Incidence on Output


Based on Selinker’s hypothesis of five psycholinguistic processes shaping interlanguage (1972), the paper focuses attention on the Russian L2-learners’ overreliance on the L1 as the main factor hindering their development. The research problem is, therefore, the high incidence of L1 transfer in the spoken and written English language output of Russian learners as an EFL issue largely ignored, and the research question, how much these learners’ dependence on the L1 affect their interlanguage (IL) development. The objectives are to offer an account of Russian L2 learners’ interlingual error incidence in free output, the L2 areas these error affects the most, and the effect of non-traditional remedial work in IL development. Thirty students out of a cohort of 123 were chosen for the study because of their little progress in the FL and later divided into two groups depending on their time of English-only L2 instruction. Their L2 spoken and written samples were used to determine their communication strategies and the output areas they affect the most. The study shows that time under L2-learning through the L2 does not modify significantly the students learning and communication strategies historically acquired through transfer of learning. The comparison with similar data from Spanish-speaking students, classroom observation, and introspection reveal the students use three L1- based strategies to cope with L2 communication demands. These strategies are so closely connected with their beliefs and language practices that non-traditional remedial work is ineffective unless the students understand the nature of their problems and willingly engage in overcoming them.

Keywords: Interlanguageinterlingual errorsfossilizationtranslationL1 overreliance

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About this article

Published online: 13.04.2017
Pages: 108-125
Publisher: Future Academy
In: Volume 19, Issue 2
DOI: 10.15405/ejsbs.210
Online ISSN: 2301-2218
Article Type: Original Research
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