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M.R. - U.S.A. said:
Problems for Learners in SpainSpanish and english stem from the same root language, Latin. For this reason, many words have similar spelling and meaning and many phrases and sentences can be translated directly. Unfortunately, the similarities that are often helpful to students, can cause problems for them in other ways. Students who are native spanish speakers often struggle with word order, verb usage, negative statements, questions, prepositions and many others. There are also many pronunciation issues with spanish speakers. Because there are so many similarities between english and spanish, learners often begin to speak their native language directly in english. This causes huge discrepancies in their word order. Two major problems with learners are adjective and noun order and direct object order. In spanish, the noun is listed in a sentence first, followed by the adjective. spanish speakers often create phrases such as “I have a car white” instead of “I have a white car.” Also, in english, the direct object follows the verb in the sentence. In spanish, the direct object pronoun is listed before the verb. Students often produce sentences such as “Him I told” instead of “I told him.” Another issue with the languages being so similar is that learners want to use the same verbs for common phrases that directly translate normally into sentences that are not correct in english. When talking about the weather, for instance, spanish uses the verb “hacer” which is taught to speakers as the verbs “to do” or “to make.” In english, weather is described as a state of being: “It is sunny.” Often students will say, “Today, it makes sunny.” Another example is with food and drink. In english, it is said that one “has” a meal or a beverage. Because of a different verb usage in spanish, learners will often say that the “take” a meal or a beverage. Negative statements and questions are often problems for spanish speakers because of the addition of the verb “to do.” spanish does not use this verb to express negatives and questions and students often leave it out. Also, in spanish it is normal to use the words for “never” and “nobody” with negative verbs. In english, double negatives actually result in a positive, so when students create a phrase like, “I never doesn’t rain,” it means “It always rains.” However, they meant that it never rains. Prepositions are very difficult for spanish speakers, too, because although many of them translate directly into the language, they are used very differently. A very common mix up is with the prepositions “on” and “in.” In spanish, these words are the same. Often, students have a lot of difficulty knowing the difference between them. Pronunciation for spanish speakers is difficult because certain sounds do not exist in their language. Not one of the short vowel sounds is a familiar sound to spanish speakers. Also, the spanish letter “j” makes and “h” sound in spanish so students have a very difficult time making a “j” sound. More importantly, though, spanish students struggle with pronunciation because the alphabet is the same. Though for most it is seen as beneficial, the almost identical alphabets cause problems for learners because they want to read and learn new words in their original language. In conclusion, though there are many perks to the similarities between spanish and english, there are also many difficulties that should be addressed when preparing to educate spanish-speaking learners of english. Common Errors of spanish Speakers Learning english Fernie Baca Moore and Robert J. Marzano Research in the Teaching of english Vol. 13, No. 2 (May, 1979), pp. 161-167 (article consists of 7 pages) Published by: National Council of Teachers of english Stable URL: