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Roxana Shirazi

ES5063 1510051 Linguistics for TESOL


Istanbul, Turkey
1st, 2nd, 7th grade
English Teacher
10/18/2015

Researching Students Mother Tongues Part I


English contrasts with Turkish
Phonology
1. Turkish students, as indicated by Kayaoglu and aylak (2013), struggle with //, //, // and
/k/, // and //, // and //, schwa, and palatalization.
2. The nature of oral English, in which fully-stressed single syllables are given the same
duration as two or more unstressed syllables is difficult for Turkish learners. Turkish words are
generally stressed on the final or penultimate syllable, as pointed out by Shoebottom (19962013)
3. Shoebottom (1996-2013) states that a feature of Turkish is vowel harmony. This means that
all the vowels in a word have to be of the same general type (vowels produced at the front of
the mouth or vowels produced at the back of the mouth). English does not have this feature,
and the randomness of vowel sounds in polysyllabic words can be a problem for Turkish
speakers.

Morphology/Syntax (Grammar)
1. Haznedar (2010) finds that in English, subjects must be overtly realized whereas Turkish
subjects may be either overt or null.
2. Turkish is an agglutinative language.
3. Word order in simple Turkish sentences is generally subjectobjectverb.

Culture of Turkey Issues for teachers/students/parents


1. Solak and Beyar (2015) found that socio-economic levels of the parents affect the
awareness of the importance of learning a foreign language.

Roxana Shirazi
ES5063 1510051 Linguistics for TESOL
Istanbul, Turkey
1st, 2nd, 7th grade
English Teacher
10/18/2015
2. Mildly positive attitudes are held toward the English language, states Erdemir (2013) who
also found that female students assigned higher value rates to learning English.
3. Erdemir (2013) stated that perceiving English as if more significant and prestigious than
their native language and devaluing Turkish would mean denying their national identities.
English contrasts with Spanish

Phonology
1. Spanish has 5 pure vowels and 5 diphthongs whereas English as 12 pure vowels and 8
diphthongs. The length of the vowel is not significant in distinguishing between words in
Spanish but the length of the vowel sound plays an important role in English, as indicated by
Shoebottom (1996-2013).
2. Shoebottom (1996-2013) points out that Spanish speakers may fail to pronounce the end
consonant accurately or strongly enough.
3. There is a tendency to prefix words beginning with a consonant cluster on s- with an //
sound amongst Spanish speakers according to Shoebottom (1996-2013).

Morphology/Syntax (Grammar)
1. Spanish word order is generally Subject-Verb-Object, like English. However, as posited by
Shoebottom (1996-2013) Spanish allows more flexibility than English, and generally places at
the end of the sentence words that are to be emphasized.
2. Shoebottom (1996-2013) reminds us that phrasal verbs, which are an essential aspect of
colloquial English, are difficult for Spanish learners and may obstruct listening
comprehension.
3. Problematic for beginners is the formation of interrogatives or negatives in English. The
absence of an auxiliary in such structures in Spanish (Shoebottom, 1996-2013).

Culture of Mexico Issues for teachers/students/parents

Roxana Shirazi
ES5063 1510051 Linguistics for TESOL
Istanbul, Turkey
1st, 2nd, 7th grade
English Teacher
10/18/2015
1. Classes are taught using a mixture of lectures, group work and discussions according to
Culture Cross.
2. Research conducted by Dowling, Edison & Leal, (2012), found that Spanish-dominant
speakers place a high importance on speaking English, more so than do English speaker
3. When children are in trouble they look down and if they look at the adult directly in the eyes
it can be seen as disrespectful and a challenge (Mexican culture, Cross Culture).
English contrasts with Arabic

Phonology
1. Problems in pronouncing consonants include the inability to produce the th sounds in words
such as this and thin, the swapping of /b/ and /p/ at the beginning of words, and the
substitution of /f/ for /v (Shoebottom, 1996-2013).
2. Consonant clusters, such as in the words split, threw or lengths, also cause problems and
often result in the speaker adding an extra vowel (Shoebottom, 1996-2013).
3. In Arabic word stress is regular. It is common, therefore, for Arab learners to have
difficulties with the seemingly random nature of English stress patterns (Shoebottom, 19962013).

Morphology/Syntax (Grammar)
1. Arabic has no verb to be in the present tense, and no auxiliary do. Furthermore, there is a
single present tense in Arabic, as compared to English, which has the simple and continuous
forms (Shoebottom, 1996-2013).
2. Arabic does not make the distinction between actions completed in the past with and
without a connection to the present. This leads to failure to use the present perfect tense
(Shoebottom, 1996-2013).
3. There are no modal verbs in Arabic.

Roxana Shirazi
ES5063 1510051 Linguistics for TESOL
Istanbul, Turkey
1st, 2nd, 7th grade
English Teacher
10/18/2015
Culture of Arabic-speaking countries or Syrian Issues for teachers/students/parents
1. It is common to hear Syrian people speaking in loud voices and becoming animated during
conversations. This usually does not signify anger; people just tend to be expressive. (Syrian
Culture, Cross Culture).
2. Mahmoud (2015) suggests that inappropriate and forbidden values and norms can be
referred to in a way that allows learners to compare them with Islamic Arabic values.
3. Gabrinis (2013) study concluded the following: American society emphasizes the
individuals moral responsibility to and for himself, but that in Arabic society, the entire
community is responsible for an individuals moral development.

Roxana Shirazi
ES5063 1510051 Linguistics for TESOL
Istanbul, Turkey
1st, 2nd, 7th grade
English Teacher
10/18/2015

References
Dowling, J. A., Ellison, C. G., & Leal, L.D. (2012). Who doesnt value English? Debunking
myths about Mexican immigrants attitudes toward the English language. Social Science
Quarterly, 93(2), 356-378. DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-6237.2012.00850.x
Erdemir, E. (2013). Attitudinal dispositions of students toward the English language:
Sociolinguistic and sociocultural considerations. The Journal of Language and Linguistic
Studies, 9(1), 23-49. http://www.jlls.org/vol9no1/23-49.pdf
Gabrini, J. E. (2013) Perceptions of bilingual identity among Arabic-English speakers in North
America. Arab World English Journal, 4(4), 386-399.
Haznedar, B. (2010). Transfer at the syntax pragmatics interface: Pronominal subjects in
bilingual Turkish. Second Language Research, 26(3), 355-378.
Kayaoglu, M. & aylak, N. (2013). What is needed for correct pronunciation: A model or a
concern? Eurasian Journal of Educational Research, 53, 269-290.
Mahmoud, M., M., A. (2015). Culture and English language teaching in the Arab world. Adult
Learning, 26(2), 66-73.
Mexican Culture. (n.d.). In Culture Crossing. Retrieved from
http://guide.culturecrossing.net/basics_business_student.php?id=134
Shoebottom, P. (1996-2013). The differences between English and Arabic. In Grammar:
Language Differences. Frankfort International School. Retrieved from
http://esl.fis.edu/grammar/langdiff/arabic.htm
Shoebottom, P. (1996-2013). The differences between English and Arabic. In Grammar:
Language Differences. Frankfort International School. Retrieved from
http://esl.fis.edu/grammar/langdiff/spanish.htm
Shoebottom, P. (1996-2013). The differences between English and Arabic. In Grammar:
Language Differences. Frankfort International School. Retrieved from
http://esl.fis.edu/grammar/langdiff/turkish.htm
Solak, E. & Bayar, A. (2015). Current challenges in English language learning in Turkish EFL
context. Participatory Educational Research, 2(1), 106-115.
Syrian Culture. (n.d.). In Culture Crossing. Retrieved from
http://guide.culturecrossing.net/basics_business_student.php?id=199

Roxana Shirazi
ES5063 1510051 Linguistics for TESOL
Istanbul, Turkey
1st, 2nd, 7th grade
English Teacher
10/18/2015