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Comparative linguistic analysis of Vietnamese (or Spanish learned in highschool) and English


Introduction: Describe your linguistic background as it relates to the paper. This should include information on the context of where you learned each language—at home, in school (including where you studied and the amount of time), living where the language is spoken, etc. If you learned one of the languages in school, say a little about how it was taught—little or much speaking of the language in class, little or much English used during class, little or much emphasis on good pronunciation, little or much emphasis on memorizing grammar rules, etc.


Non‐Standard Language: Everyone speaks a dialect and most people use both formal and informal language, depending on the situation. In this section, identify 3 slang or informal words/phrases in your native language that you use and are currently in vogue at your university, in your clubs, among your friends and social circle, etc. For each word/phrase, (1) explain what it means, (2) when you would use it, (3) when you first heard the word/phrase.


Comparison of sounds: Select one point of comparison between sounds found in the two languages. Examples of such comparison might be:
 The pronunciation of Spanish vowels, which are “pure” vowels, and English vowels, which tend to be “diphthongized” (compare the pronunciation of of the vowel in Spanish de ‘from’ with the pronunciation of the vowel in English day)
 The presence of front rounded vowels in French, German, or Chinese and their absence in English
 The presence of palatal fricatives in English (the sounds symbolized by the underlined letters in ash and azure) and their absence in Spanish
 The presence of velar fricatives (“guttural sounds”) in German or Hebrew and their absence in English
The sound description need not be technical, but try to use terminology and concepts introduced during the lectures on Phonetics. You should (1) write the sounds using the INTERNATIONAL PHONETIC ALPHABET symbols as we did in class during the Phonetics module of the course, (2) provide an articulatory description of the sounds, and (3) give sample words. Include some comments comparing the languages, for example, noting what sounds you tend to substitute for the “hard” sounds of your non‐native language.


DO NOT CONFUSE THE ORTHOGRAPHY OF THE LANGUAGE WITH THE SOUNDS OF THE LANGUAGE. TWO POINTS WILL AUTOMATICALLY BE DEDUCTED FOR THIS ERROR.


Comparison of grammar: Select one point of “grammar” for comparison. This could either be a point of:
 Syntax, e.g. order of words in a sentence, order of elements in the NP, use of endings that mark words for whether they are subject or object, etc.
 Word formation, e.g. inflection of verbs, marking words for gender agreement, formation of compound words, etc.

The grammar description need not be technical, but try to use terminology and concepts introduced during the lectures on Syntax and Morphology. Describe the way the two languages mark a comparable structure, e.g. how each language marks past tense, what the order of a noun and its modifiers are in each of the languages, etc. BE SURE TO INCLUDE EXAMPLES FROM BOTH LANGUAGES!


Language and thought: Find an example of how the two languages express thoughts differently such that a “Whorfian” view would argue that the languages CAUSE their speakers to think differently. Some types of examples you might use are:
 One language has several words to express what the other language expresses with one word, e.g. wear (could have different words depending on the article of clothing), break (could have different words depending on type of thing broken), snow (may be expressed with different words depending on quality of the snow), color words may break the spectrum up in different ways in the two languages, etc.
 One language may require different forms of words when addressing older people from the forms used when addressing friends of the same age


Acquisition: Compare the way you “think” in the two languages as related to the way you learned them and the contexts where you use them. For example:
 You create utterances spontaneously in your native language because you learned it through the normal process of language acquisition, but you speak Spanish slowly and falteringly because you put sentences together using grammar rules you memorized in school.
 You speak English with an accent and/or make grammatical errors in English because you learned it after the “critical age”, yet you find it easier to discuss technical subjects in English than in your “home” language because you use the latter only in everyday domestic contexts.


GIVE AT LEAST ONE CONCRETE EXAMPLE OF AN ERROR YOU HAVE MADE OR AN IDEA YOU HAVE HAD TROUBLE EXPRESSING IN YOUR NON‐NATIVE LANGUAGE.
  

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