When we learn a second language, we go through some linguistical and cultural When we learn a second language, we go through some linguistical and cultural transitions that are important to be aware of. Sometimes, these transitions can be mistakenly taken as a language disorder/ delay; therefore everyone should be aware of what is "normal " and what is not when learning a new language.

General variation between English and Spanish

Consonants:

  • English and Spanish has 24 sounds and Spanish 16.
  • Spanish speakers might transfer sounds such as /b/ and /v/ and pronounced as /b/ in Spanish.
  • /ch/ have only one sound while in English it has two sound,/sh/ and /ch/ which sound differently for English native speakers but will be sound the same for Spanish speakers.
  • When writing and spelling in English,  Spanish speakers might have problems with h,j,r,y because they have significantly different names in Spanish.

Vowels:

  • Spanish has five sounds for vowels while in English vowels can be sounded 30 different ways.
  • Spanish speakers might not differentiate sounds like in the beat of music and a little bit.
  • Spanish speaker might have problems with the /a,e, i/ sounds.

Pitch:

  • In English the pitch changes more than in Spanish. When speaking English a Spanish speaker might sound a little monotone.
Tenses:
·         English learners might use the simple tense instead of the present progressive or future. For example: the student can say "he has a shower, instead of she is having a shower or I help you after school on instead of I'll help you after school" (http://esl.fis.edu).

Forming Questions

  • In Spanish we ask questions by using intonation, while in English, the position of the subject and verb switches.  Spanish speakers might have problems with the word order when asking a questions.

Prepositions:

  • Spanish only have very specific prepositions (a, ante, bajo, con, de, en etc).
  • Children who are learning English might have trouble with English prepositions (in, at, on) because they all mean the same in Spanish: en.

 

Examples of new English learners' speech*:

  • Do you have sister?
  • It's not easy learn English.
  • Where's my pencil? Have you seen him?
  • I am more tall than my brother.
  • Was snowing when I got up.

* Information taken from http://esl.fis.edu

Visit the following websites:

If you need more information about acquiring English as a second language, please visit http://www.asha.org/public/speech/development/esl.htm

If you need more information about the grammatical differences between English and Spanish languages, please visit http://esl.fis.edu (A guide to learning English website- Frankfurt International School).

If you need more information about the factor in learning a second language and culture, please visit http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Factors+in+learning+second+language+and+culture-a0138703694

If you need more information about the stages that all English as a Second Language students go through when learning English, please visit http://www.everythingesl.net/inservices/language_stages.php

If you need more information about classroom instruction that works with English language learners, please visit http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/108052/chapters/The-Stages-of-Second-Language-Acquisition.aspx

If you need more information of what is "normal" and what is not when learning English, please visit http://www.asha.org/public/speech/development/easl.htm