Date: Sat, 16 Mar 1996 07:13:12 -0500

From: "Dennis R. Preston" preston[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]PILOT.MSU.EDU

Subject: Re: 'going to'

Ron's observations have been more carefully studied in recent research

(showing the influence of 2nd languages on 3rd, 3rd on 2nd, and the like).

One of our grad students here at MSU is working on the interfernece of

English on the acquisition of Japanese by Korean and Chinese learners. She

has shown that errors in Japanese (in modification, negation, and some

other areas) made by Chinese and Korean learners reflect English (rather

than L1) patterns.

Anecdotally, I remember once I was in Germany after a pretty intensive

Polish-learning experience (in Poland). I met a colleague who introduced me

to a Spanish-speaking colleague of his and suggested that we speak Spanish

to each other. I'm sure that my memory of the moment attributes more than

actually happened, but I recall a great struggle with what I thought was am

pretty well-entrenched language, and the new Polish stuff slipped in all

over the place. The other interesting thing I recall about this was that

the interferences were all pretty much at structure-word (prepositions,

etc...) levels, not content.

Your brain sure is a funny place. (Not yours in particular, Ron.)


I've been meaning to write and thank you for your kind correction to my

French grammar, but I wanted to try to figure out first why I wrote what I

wrote (i.e., "Je vais a' laver mes chats" and "Je vais a' me laver les

mains," neither of which should have "a'"). Obviously, interference from

English "I am going to wash my hands," etc., would lead the native speaker of

English to assume that French also had the 'to' morpheme. However, I learned

my French entirely from books, so I suspect that at least at one time I knew

that in French one says "Je vais + INF" and not *"Je vais a' +INF". I think

that what happened is that Spanish interferred--in Spanish one says, "Voy a

estudiar"; I learned what Spanish I know years AFTER I learned French. I

believe that the Spanish interferred more than the English!

Dennis R. Preston

Department of Linguistics and Languages

Michigan State University

East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA


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