Measuring Phonological and Orthographic Similarity: The Case of Loanwords in Turkish and English

Measuring Phonological and Orthographic Similarity: The Case of Loanwords in Turkish and English

Muhlise Coşgun Ögeyik (Trakya University, Turkey)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-4009-0.ch003

Abstract

Marked and unmarked language forms can be distinguished with the level of simplicity or complexity denotations of the forms. Unmarked target language forms may create little or no difficulty, even if they do not exist in the native language of the learner, while marked forms can be relatively difficult for language learners. In addition to the notions of markedness/unmarkedness, there has also been an emphasis on similarity and dissimilarity between the items of first (L1) and second languages (L2). Along with similarity or dissimilarity of L1 and L2 forms, the level of difficulty may vary enormously in different language-specific procedures. In this chapter, therefore, it is intended to build an understanding of the recognized pronunciation and orthographic problems of similar loanwords in both Turkish (L1 of the participants) and English (L2).
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Background

The impact of L1 on L2 and the notion of interference while learning a foreign language have been one of the chief concerns of the scholars in the field of L2 language education. The remarkable views have been the core of discussions, and the field courses to train L2 learners have been designed by taking these views into account. Among such views, cross-linguistic influence (CLI), for illustration, insists that using data from L1 or L2 has a considerable influence on L2 learning. CLI was used by Kellerman and Sharwood (1986) to refer to the phenomena such as language transfer- positive and negative transfer-, interference, and borrowing. Positive transfer is the experience which makes learning easier and may occur when both L1 and L2 have the identical form, whereas negative transfer, known as interference, is the use of L1 pattern or rule which leads to an error or inappropriate form in L2 (Richards & Schmidt, 2002). CLI can be noticed at all linguistic levels, whether phonological, lexical, syntactical, or semantic. By comparing groups of learners with different L1 backgrounds learning English as L2 and by clarifying more complex ways beyond simply formal similarities among individual items, Ringbom (2006) distinguished between different types of cross-linguistic similarity relations which refer to items and systems, form and meaning, L1 and L2 transfers, and perceived or assumed similarities. Depending on such distinguished points, it can be noted that the abundance of similarity among language items may foster promising results in language learning process. Conversely, dissimilar points among languages may lead to obscurity and difficulty in comprehension and production levels. The degree of difficulty in this sense can be explained through marked and unmarked items of any language (Ortega, 2009); and the models offered to describe the occurrence are Markedness Differential Model and Speech Learning Model.

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