Sunday, January 11, 2009

distinction between Mother-tongue Interference and Cultural Interference Explained

A teacher who had been teaching English in a school in Sri Lanka once happened to see this interesting sentence in a student's composition:The mahout married the elephant to a tree.Obviously,in the student's mother tongue the word for marry could also be used to mean to
tie.This is a clear case of mother tongue interference .When a Frenchman says;The President of theStates United lives in the House White,the inversion may strike us as strange as we have been accustomed to thinking of attributes first and the objects next.The French ,on the contrary, have been accustomed to thinking in the reverse order.It is not a question of the relative importance of objects and their attributes,but it is just a matter of ordering. ( The prominence of linguistic elements is not normally seen in their ordering but in their prosodic features.This is the way languages work as signifying systems.)When a French student of English calls the United States States United it reflects a deep-rooted cultural penchant It is a case of cultural interference.But when a French student of English says;The President of the United States lives in the White House, isn't it?,it is a clear instance of mother tongue interference

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