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    • Join Date: Dec 2006
    • Posts: 6

    An inquiry about contrastive linguistics

    Hi there,
    I'm a new member and I would like to ask about the relevance of deep structure to contrastive linguistics.
    what do you think? how can I tackle such topic? unfortunately, I don't have analytical thinking. If ANYONE has ANY IDEAS or SUGGESTIONS plzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzz let me know ASAP
    Hope to hear from you soon

  1. Casiopea's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2003
    • Posts: 12,970

    Re: An inquiry about contrastive linguistics

    Well, let's begin with a few definitions to provide our members with some background information. In this way, they might be better prepared to help you with your question. You might add a few examples for us to think about. Are you dealing with phonology (sounds), morphology (words) or syntax (sentence structure)? It's a fairly large area, your topic, not to mention somewhat controversial. As is, your question reads like something one would expect to find addressed in a master's or doctoral thesis.

    All the best to you, and I hope your gain what you're looking for.

    Contrastive analysis is an inductive investigative approach based on the distinctive elements in a language.

    Here are some kinds of contrastive analysis:
    Analysis of contrastive phonemes
    Feature analysis of morphosyntactic categories
    Analysis of morphemes having grammatical meaning
    Analysis of word order
    Componential analysis of lexemes
    Analysis of lexical relations

    Comparative analysis of morphosyntactic systems
    Comparative analysis of lexical semantics
    Analysis of translational equivalence
    Study of interference in foreign language learning

    A contrastive analysis hypothesis has two versions, the strong version, and the weak version. The strong version is the one which most of the supporters of this theory base their claims, although it was unrealistic and impracticable. However, the weak version does have possiblities for usefulness, although even this is suspect to some linguists.

    The strong version
    "It is possible to contrast the system of one language (the grammar, phonology and lexicon) with the system of a second language in order to predict the difficulties which a speaker of the second language will have in learning the first language, and to construct reading materials to help her learn that language."
    This theory makes a lot of demands of linguists. For example, the theory requires linguistics to have:

    a set of linguistic universals formulated within a comprehensive linguistic theory which deals with syntax, semantics and phonology.
    a theory of contrastive linguistics in which they can "plug in" linguistic descriptions of the two languages to be compared.
    Wardhaugh (1974) calls this a "pseudo-procedure" - a procedure which linguistics claim they could follow, in order to achieve definitive results, if only there were enough time.

    The weak version
    "The linguist uses the best linguistic knowledge available to him in order to account for the observed difficulties in second-language learning."
    This approach makes fewer demands of contrastive theory than the strong version. The starting point of this approach is provided by real evidence from such phenomena as faulty translation, learning difficulties and residual foreign accents.

    What is contrastive analysis?
    The contrastive analysis hypothesis

    Deep Structure and Surface Structure
    Every sentence exists on two levels: the Surface structure which corresponds to the actual spoken sentence and the Deep structure which underlies meaning of the sentence. Thus, the single deep idea can be expressed in many different Surface Structures. Examples: Boy loves Girl (deep structure). The boy kissed the girl (surface structure). The boy was kissing the girl. The girl was kissed by the boy. (surface and deep structure).

    Read more here.
    Last edited by Casiopea; 16-Dec-2006 at 19:10.

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