Dissertation > Language, writing > FOREIGN > English > Language teaching

L1Transfer in the Process of Chinese-English Translaiton by Chinese Learners of English

Author ZhangQianYing
Tutor SuJianFang
School Guangxi University for Nationalities
Course Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Keywords language transfer L1thinking Chinese-English translation think-aloud protocols
CLC H319
Type Master's thesis
Year 2012
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The study of language transfer has long been a huge research topic in the field ofSLA and has aroused general concern for a fairly long time (Ellis,1999). While alarge number of studies have given us a better understanding of transfer phenomena,researches revolving around them still have theoretical and practical problems. Odlin(2001) indicates that, although there are so many studies of language transfer, theresults are varied, even contradict with each other and till now no overall languagetransfer theory has been formulated. Undoubtedly, as an important languagephenomenon, language transfer needs more studies in a larger and deeper scope.In China, there have been many researches concerning language transfer. Therepresentative works are Jiang Meng’s monograph A Psychological and CognitiveExploration of the Mechanism of Semantic Transfer (2009) and Yu Liming’smonograph New Perspectives on Language Transfer Studies (2011). However, theresearch related to translation is relatively insufficient, and the subjects chosen by theresearchers are often English majors and at the advanced or intermediate level ofEnglish proficiency. So in this thesis, the author attempts to investigate art studentswho are of lower proficiency in English. This survey studies L1transfer on theirtranslations from linguistic and cognitive perspectives, along with the methodologicaltheories of Contrastive Analysis, Error Analysis and Interlanguage. Three kinds ofdata are collected, including translations in examination papers of two terms,thinking-aloud transcriptions and a follow-up questionnaire. The research questionsare:1) How is L1transfer reflected in students‘Chinese-English translations?2) Howdoes L1influence students in the process of Chinese-English translation?Preliminary findings are:1) The survey of the students’ C-E translation suggeststhat L1transfer is mainly reflected in lexis, lexical meanings, collocations and sentence structures. The transfer in such linguistic aspects exerted both negative andpositive influences on the students’ translations. On the one hand, the students reliedheavily on their L1-Chinese when they were doing C-E translations.2) The analysisof think-aloud protocols shows that L1thinking plays an active role in the processesof transforming preparation, content-generating, form-retrieving, confirmation andprocess controlling. The findings indicate that,in addition to their L1negative transfer,students’ small vocabulary, poor grammar, and little cross-cultural awareness arecauses of errors in choosing proper words, meanings or structures. The study offers ussome pedagogical implications: although art students were low proficient in English,they could take some measures to make up for the lack of words, showing their ownlearning strategies. In this case, teachers’ active guidance and timely encouragementare necessary.

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