Question
15 Dec 2019

  • Simplified Chinese (China)
  • English (UK)
  • French (France)
  • Korean
Question about English (UK)

Please check my context error, it's really important to me. I have to submit my assignment before next Tuesday, please help me.

[1] Example of speech error
At the first, I will use an examples of a Chinese native speaker that make a speech error when she speaks English. There is a woman, one day, a foreign neighbor was invited to come to her home and have a visit. The woman asked the foreign neighbor first whether she likes to drink tea or coffee. Then, the host prepared to boil water. She vaguely remember that potty is a vessel to retain water, so she said, “ I just get the potty ready for you.” She means that she will ready to use a vessel to boil water for her. For a while, the electric kettle boiled and made the noise. The foreign neighbor suddenly understood what she said and said with relief, “Do you mean kettle?”. Potty is a vessel to retain urine.
To my point of view, this speech error is semantically related substitution error. The characteristic of substitution is a speech unit is replaced by a different unit. In this case, the target word should be kettle, but she used potty. I think substitution error happen when we meet some unfamiliar words, and we try to use a semantically related word to illustrate what we mean.
There are several reason for this speech error. First, depend on her previous visual perception, she knows that she have to use a word to illustrate a vessel to retain water. Then, use lexical selection process to select one lexical entry from her mental lexicon. Next, word recognition happen to chose the most suitable word. Finally, lexical access happen to make the information becomes available. It’s like the search model process. Finding words in a dictionary on the basis of visual characteristics, until find the appropriate lexical entry. Depend on frequency effect in search model, more frequent words are accessed first. In this case, I think there are 2 situations. One is she knows both potty and kettle. But in her mental lexicon, the frequency of potty is relatively higher than kettle. So, search model choose potty as lexical entry. The other one is she never know the word ‘kettle’, so the word ‘kettle’ isn’t exist in her mental lexicon, and search model goes to the mental lexicon to access the information corresponding to kettle. There is also a type of error called communication strategy errors. This error says when you use the language that you’ve learned to communicate with others, just focus on the other person understanding your thoughts, and don’t pay attention to the accuracy of language and structure. As a bilingual, it seems better to say some sentence with speech error than say nothing in communication.
This speech error told us that it’s very easy to make some mistakes when some words are in the same categories. It usually happen when you built your sentence structure. For second or third language learner, it seems hard to identify the difference between different words in the same categories. Specially, when you meet synonym or polysemy, it’s very easy to be confused about the meaning of the words and it’s also difficult to use word correctly. In the other way, can we say that substitution happen because we are not familiar to the target language and the different language culture? Every language learners seem to make this common mistake, and how can we reduce such errors caused by similarity is still a big problem for psycholinguist.
[2] The experience of second language learner
As a Chinese native speaker, I start to learn English from primary school, and I learned Korean in the last high school year, and I major in French at university. I really met many difficulties when I enrolled in a foreign language lecture. First, when I first took a lecture by Korean professor or French professor, I found it’s more easy to understand the meaning in reading than listening. This means that if there are no lecture notes or detailed ppt, I will not be able to understand the course content well, and I will do terrible on my test. Second, in Korea, there are many team work in the course so that we should communicate with Korean student. Maybe we can understand what they said, but we cannot organize language to express our thoughts and opinions well or we make some speech errors or our pronunciation has some problems that they can’t understand what we said. This is also called Deaf-mute Korean.
For the first difficulty, we should talk about the characteristics of spoken words. Spoken words presented only very briefly, and you only get one chance to analyze it. Because in the lecture, professor will not repeat every knowledge point. This means if you cannot analyze the spoken word immediately and correctly, you are difficult to understand what the professor have mentioned. The characteristics of visual word is written word is there for you to see it. You can usually go back and check a visually presented word as many times as you like. There are also other factors to hard understand the listening. According to lack of invariance problem, the speech sound of word alone and word in sentence is different, this makes identification more difficult. Even you can read the text well, if you didn’t do many listening training, this language is still like an unfamiliar foreign language for you. According to the segmentation problem, because you’re hard to segment speech words, you will feel like professor is speaking unusually fast. Also, when the person speak language with accent that will lead to cannot understand.
For the second difficulty, speaking is the comprehensive language applied ability. Behaviorist thinks that language learn is mechanical imitation, and through repeated iterations, correct language habits are formed. It likes practice makes perfect. And the speech errors that you’ve made is the cause of the interference of your native language. According to this theory, you can’t speak well because you haven’t repeated enough, and your pronunciation is affected by your native language that others may cannot understand you. But Nativist thinks that humans have a natural language acquisition device. Language learning is not a simple process of imitating, but a creative process of producing language according to certain rules. The main reason for language errors in foreign language learning is not the interference of the mother tongue, but the inconsistency between the language system generated by the learner and the language system of the learned language. In my opinion, we can’t speak well because we didn’t do many speaking practice, and our native language will make interference to our speech errors. We product language not only by imitation, but also by certain language rules. Speech production process have three parts which include conceptualization, formulation and execution. First, we decide what to say. Then, we consider about which words we need and which syntactic structure we need. Finally, we think about how to pronounce it. The difficulties usually happen in the last two stages. When we don’t have enough vocabulary size, it’s difficult to search lexical entry in our mental lexicon. When we organize syntactic structure, sometime it’s easy influenced by our native language structure. For example, when I want to express causation, I always want to use ‘Because..., so...’. This is a typical speech error that Chinese native speakers usually made. That’s because in Chinese syntactic structure, we express causation use both ‘because’ and ‘so’. I also think that the pronunciation habits of our mother tongue will directly affect the pronunciation of our second foreign language. That’s why we hear so many different accent in the world. And as a language learner, it’s easy to make over-generalization when we need to change tense. Especially in French, you need always change the verb form in each tense. Some verbs are regularly deformed, and some verbs are irregularly deformed. So, the speech errors is easy made at this time. Of course, when you are in a very tense state, even if you have a good language ability, there is also a great chance of speech error. This may be the nervousness hinders the formulation and implementation of the speech plan, or it may be caused by inadequate preparation time, even if the topic you are familiar with will repeat or even fail to speak.
In order to improve our understanding of the second language course, I think the method of dictation practice is very effective. The first time, only try to listen to the material and see how much you can understand. Before the second time, reading the material and try to remember the words that you don’t know. It will be a short-term memory. Then, you listen to the material again, pay many attention to places that you didn’t understand at the first time and write down the content that you heard. Through this way, you have both the speech perceptual input and visual perceptual input of the words that you don’t know and you can also have better understanding than the first time. According to logogen model, this method will help you to make activation reaches above logogen’s threshold. Thus, you can hear clear you the speech said. Even if you still can’t understand some parts, just repeat this step again and again until you can understand the whole material. This method also used repetition priming effects and frequency effects. Repeated exposure of the input make the threshold lower and because you repeat again and again, these words become high frequency words in your short-term memory, it also make threshold lower. Eventually, faster lexical access will be formed. This is an effective method I have tried.
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