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
preston[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]pilot.msu.edu