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This current research is titled as Problems faced by Chinese students in learning English language: A case study of S.M. Pei Yuan KAMPAR. This chapter consists of nine sections which is background of the study, statement of problem, purpose of study, significance of study, research question, scope of study, methodology, limitation and definition of key words.
Background of the study
Learning English language as second language (L2) is a big challenge for second language learners. Students still have problems with grammatical functions most of the time, although they have 11 years of English language exposure. Hence, this study focuses on the first language (L1) grammatical functions that interfere with Chinese learners of English as a second language.
In Malaysia, there are numerous learners who have Chinese language as their L1. Most of them have problems in learning English language especially the English grammar. Learners are more or less likely to be influenced either positively or negatively by their first language. According to Hassan (2002), learners L1 background knowledge will affect them in learning English language especially in speaking and writing. As a result, the interference of L1 has become the major problem for Chinese ESL learners in the process of learning English especially in writing.
Chinese ESL learners will get interference from their L1 when they write. It is because they will get influence by their L1 grammatical structure. Besides, the differences of syntactic between L1 and L2 also will affect them in writing. A few studies have reported that Chinese ESL learners will use their mother tongue to plan an outline before writing (Cumming, 1989; Jones & Tetroe, 1987), transfer the writing context to English language by using their mother tongue (Edelsky, 1982; Friedlander, 1990; Lay, 1982). Second language learners will use their mother tongue in such circumstances and the interferences from L1 to L2 can either be positive or negative.
Learners’ L1 will influence
In this study, researcher will examines mother tongue influence on Chinese learners
1.2 Statement of Problem
To learn English as second language, learners at least have to master four basic skills which are listening, reading, speaking and writing. However, seldom Chinese ESL learners can fully master the skills especially in writing. It is because the L1 interferes of English Language causes grammatical errors in the writing process. According to Nik Safiah (1978), this kind of grammatical error can be obviously found in Chinse ESL learner’s essay writing. The differences between L1 and L2 grammatical funtions intefere on students English essay writing process.
As we know that mastering English Language is not an easy task especially for learners who study in Chinese independent schools. It is because they mostly will get inteferenced from their L1 and affect the way they learn English. As a result, Chinese learners will face difficulty in learning English grammatical functions such as tenses, subject-verb agreement or countable and uncountable nouns. Although Chinese learners have exposed to English language since primary one, the errors still occur.
Chinese ESL learner make this kind of grammatical errors because they do not fully utilize the language even though they are able to use it. As the saying goes, “practise makes perfect” if the learners do not polish their English language even with years of exposure to the language, it will make no different.
1.3 Purpose of Study
The purpose of this study is to find out if L1 interference have a significant effect on Chinese ESL learners English essay writing. Besides, this study is also to identify types of errors that Chinese ESL learners commonly make with English grammatical functions in the English essay writing.
1.4 Significance of Study
Although learners learn English since the first day enter they school. However, most of them cannot fully master English as their second language. This study can help teachers to understand the problems that learners face when they are learning English. Besides, teachers can identify the influence of learner’s L1 in learning English and among the errors, they help to correct the grammar. This can help to reduce the inteference of L1 from happening to students learning English.
1.5 Research Questions
Based on the problems and purpose mentioned in the earlier sections, this study will focus on two research questions which are:
Does L1 interference have a significant effect on Chinese Learners English essay writing?
What types of errors do Chinese ESL learners commonly make with English grammatical functions in the English essay writing?
1.6 Scope of Study
The aims of this study is to identify the inteference of learner’s L1 in learning English language. Learner who study in S.M. PEI YUAN (P) KPR would be chosen as participate in the writing test. This study is using purposive sampling because only one class of Chinese ESL learners will be selected as participants.
This study will utilize a test to find out why Chinese ESL learners have problems in learning grammar. The learners will be asked to write a short essay. The topic of the essay is My family and learners have to write around 100-120 words each. This test will be distributed to the learners during their classes. Thus, they will take the test seriously and the results of the data collected will be more precise.
This study is designed for those whose first language is not English language and have L1 background knowledge. The survey will only be conducted with one class of learners who study in S.M. PEI YUAN (P) KPR. Thus, the result do not represented all Chinese ESL learners.
1.9 Definition of key words
Inteference learner’s make an error in ther L2 which influnced by their L1 (Lott,1983:256).
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