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  1. #11
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Default Re: Teaching English as third language

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    Wouldn't you need to test that by teaching a group English first and seeing how they learn French?
    That wouldn't work, because cawatawa's hypothesis is about the difference between English as second and third languages. In your proposed trial, there are no English as a 3rd language learners - only French as a third language learners.

    I agree that there are likely to be differences. I think the reason that ESL, and English-based SLA disciplines don't focus on L3 differences is that the students are more likely to be heterogenous. People from all over the world learn English, and most ESL classes in English-speaking countries have students from diverse backgrounds.
    The Algerian Arabic -> French -> English scheme is a very specific limited example, and there might be grounds for Arabic speakers to be taught English differently if they already known French - which is similar to saying that one might teach English differently to French speakers than to Arabic speakers, if one had the luxury of a homogenous class.

  2. #12
    TomUK is offline Member
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    Default Re: Teaching English as third language

    At school I learned the following foreign languages (in that order): English, French, and Russian. In each language we started with simple words and basic sentences. With every new chapter in the respective study book new words were introduced and the sentences would become more complex. Step by step grammar rules would be taught and we would be exposed to all the irregularities in each language. I very much doubt that anything would have been different if we had to learn these languages in a different order.

    I am now trying to teach myself Thai and all the study books follow the same principles as above.

    TomUK

  3. #13
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    konungursvia is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Teaching English as third language

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    In the the academic subject and literature of Second language Acquisition, a third language is treated identically to a second language. The same teaching implications apply.
    I agree, and would add that when it's a third language, it's often easier to teach than as a second language. You as a teacher can identify tendencies in both source languages and use them to help people in the third language.

    For instance, in Hong Kong 90% of my French students were speakers of Hindi and Sindhi (a dialect of Hindi spoken in Sindh). I was able to teach the subjunctive with better success by relying on the students to come up with sentences in Hindi which I calculated, based on their feedback, would contain subjunctives similar to those in French.

    Example: "She was afraid she might be late for the bus."

    Also, bilingual people are more mentally flexible when it comes to "letting go" of the first language and back-translating absolutely everything. It helps to be bilingual before becoming trilingual.

  4. #14
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    Hedwig is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Teaching English as third language

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    Also, bilingual people are more mentally flexible when it comes to "letting go" of the first language and back-translating absolutely everything. It helps to be bilingual before becoming trilingual.
    Yes, and even people who are not truly bilingual but have acquired a certain degree of proficiency in a second language learn a third language more easily. I don't know why, but perhaps you break certain barriers in your brain or you develop certain abilities necessary to master a foreign language. Go figure.

  5. #15
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    Default Re: Teaching English as third language

    Quote Originally Posted by Hedwig View Post
    Yes, and even people who are not truly bilingual but have acquired a certain degree of proficiency in a second language learn a third language more easily. I don't know why, but perhaps you break certain barriers in your brain or you develop certain abilities necessary to master a foreign language. Go figure.
    Except for when you acquire another language, or other languages as a young child - and are almost certainly not fully aware of the concept of 'another language' - learning your first foreign language involves some startling things. For somebody in whose own language negation is expressed by the equivalent of "I love not", "I not love" or "I no-love", the English "I do not love" is weird. It may take a long time to accept this; however, once it has been accepted, learners are not quite so shocked when they meet, in their second foreign language "I ne love pas". If, in their third foreign language, the negative turns out to be the equivalent of "I evol", well, so be it. The systems still have to be mastered, but they are no longer seen as outlandish.

    That said, I do feel that it is almost certainly easier if your second foreign language is in the same language family. Thus, I would say that if a speaker of an African language, for example learnt French as their first foreign language, then they would find the difficulty of learning the second foreign language something like this:

    Italian - easy. Italian and French are closely-related Romance languages.
    Romanian - less easy. Romanian and French are both Romance languages, but not so closely related.
    English - more difficult; English and French are both Indo-European languages, but different branches. However, English and French have a lot of vocabulary in common.
    Czech - decidely more difficult. Czech and French are both Indo-European languages, but vey different in vocabulary and surface structure.
    Turkish - very difficult. Turkish is not an Indo-European language, and both vocabulary and grammar are very different.

  6. #16
    konungursvia's Avatar
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    Default Re: Teaching English as third language

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    Except for when you acquire another language, or other languages as a young child - and are almost certainly not fully aware of the concept of 'another language' - learning your first foreign language involves some startling things. For somebody in whose own language negation is expressed by the equivalent of "I love not", "I not love" or "I no-love", the English "I do not love" is weird. It may take a long time to accept this; however, once it has been accepted, learners are not quite so shocked when they meet, in their second foreign language "I ne love pas". If, in their third foreign language, the negative turns out to be the equivalent of "I evol", well, so be it. The systems still have to be mastered, but they are no longer seen as outlandish.

    That said, I do feel that it is almost certainly easier if your second foreign language is in the same language family. Thus, I would say that if a speaker of an African language, for example learnt French as their first foreign language, then they would find the difficulty of learning the second foreign language something like this:

    Italian - easy. Italian and French are closely-related Romance languages.
    Romanian - less easy. Romanian and French are both Romance languages, but not so closely related.
    English - more difficult; English and French are both Indo-European languages, but different branches. However, English and French have a lot of vocabulary in common.
    Czech - decidely more difficult. Czech and French are both Indo-European languages, but vey different in vocabulary and surface structure.
    Turkish - very difficult. Turkish is not an Indo-European language, and both vocabulary and grammar are very different.
    First off, check out "New Italian Self-Taught" on Amazon, as well as the French and German versions.

    Second, you're absolutely right. But strangely, English and French have both been cycling in and out of double negation for centuries. Strange but interesting. Chaucer wrote :

    Whan that the Knyght had thus his tale ytoold,
    In al the route ne was ther yong ne oold
    That he ne seyde it was a noble storie,..

    You had to have 2 ne's to make a not, for centuries, and it has been a pendulum swinging back and forth through time immemorial in all of the Scandianvian and Teutonic languages. Or most.

  7. #17
    Hedwig's Avatar
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    Default Re: Teaching English as third language

    You people are so erudite one seeps in knowledge in this website almost to the point of drowning.

  8. #18
    konungursvia's Avatar
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    Default Re: Teaching English as third language

    Wow, thank you.

  9. #19
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Teaching English as third language

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    That wouldn't work, because cawatawa's hypothesis is about the difference between English as second and third languages. In your proposed trial, there are no English as a 3rd language learners - only French as a third language learners.
    You would have Arabic -> French -> English & Arabic -> English -> French to compare. You'd have two groups- one taught in the reverse order from the traditional French first pattern. Then you would have it as a second and third language. At least, that is what I meant. Sorry if I wasn't clear.
    Last edited by Tdol; 30-Jul-2011 at 13:11.

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