Research Comparison and ReflectionPaperIn SLA, transfer wasoften characterized as “interference” (Ortega 2009, p.31) because a learner’sknowledge of their first language (L1) would seemingly interfere with theiracquisition of a second (or additional) language (L2).
According to Ortega(2009), knowledge of two (or more) languages can accelerate the learning of anadditional one, and all previously known languages can influence knowledge ofand performance in an L3. In other word, a learner’s understanding of thesystems in their native or second language would cause problems when acquiringa new language. The ideathat L1 knowledge could cause specific issues when acquiring an L2 or L3 gaverise to the Contrastive Analysis Hypothesis (CAH), which stated that a learner’L1 background caused errors in their L2, and that patterns of error could bepredicated based on the linguistic features from students’L1 and L2 (Ortega 2009, p.31).However, it was soon found that learners did not only struggle with featuresthat their language did not have. For example, Koike and Palmiere (2011),demonstrated that L1 Spanish speakers learning English and L1 English speakerslearning Spanish did not have equal degree of competence when acquiring thesetwo languages whether English or Spanish. Thus, it was shown that the CAH couldnot always accurately predict which features of a new language learners wouldstruggle with based on the differences between L1 and L2 alone (p.
82). However,it still a good means for language teachers to make some prediction about whichfeatures of English their students may have difficulty with based on theirstudents’ L1 or L2. In fact, these previous statements by Ortegain chapter three had inspired me to ask the question “what if the targetlanguage that students aim to learn has many similar linguistic features totheir L1 or L2, I wonder if the students would find it easy or complex toacquire”.
Thus, I have chosen two articles that address the case ofSpanish-English bilinguals’ acquisition of Portuguese since as known Spanish and Portuguese areconsiderably related languages that share many similar linguistic features andlexical items. Basically, the chosen articles focused on the role of typologicaldistance and order of acquisition and the transfer of F1 and L2 pragmaticexpression when acquiring Portuguese as an L3. This paper will address mycomparison for the two articles in term of their key findings, as well as providing a discussion in respect of what I have learnedfrom comparing these two articles and how did it help me to gain a significantunderstanding of the across-linguistic influence in the third languageacquisition particularly.