About the Book:
'Negative transfer' or interference of prior learning experience on subsequent ones is considered one of the main obstacles in the way of successful acquisition of language. Analysing the source and target language contrastively, locating the areas of difference between the languages in question, helps predicting the problem areas and consequently overcoming the problem. This book employs the techniques of contrastive analysis to look into the sound structure of Bengali and French in order to find out the hurdles that a native Bengali speaker is likely to encounter in pronunciation while learning French. It also suggests ways of overcoming them making the book useful for language teachers and linguists.
About the Author:
Aditi Ghosh is a Research Fellow of The Asiatic Society, Kolkata. She graduated with masters in Linguistics from the department of Linguistics of the University of Calcutta and holds Diploma in French language from Alliance Francaise She has been a University topper and since she has been engaged in serious research work in linguistics, particularly in the field of phonology. Her research papers appeared in various journals and won accolades in conferences. This volume came up as a result of her work as Mm. H. P. Shastri Research Fellow in Linguistics at The Asiatic Society.
This work is a close contrastive study of two sound systems: Bengali and French. It covers not just the vowels, semivowels and consonants but also the suprasegmental features of word and sentence stress. The aim is to establish linguistically the differences as well as similarities of the languages in question.
the study is not intended for language learners. However, language teachers with some knowledge of linguistics might find the work useful. After establishing the linguistic contrasts, it deals with the problems they might create in the language learning process and some possible solutions to those problems are suggested. However, the analysis is based primarily on a descriptive level, dealing with an articulatory phonetic description followed by the descriptions of the distribution of phonemes in the respective languages by juxtaposing the two sound structures.
The study begins with an introduction to contrastive analysis, phonemic analysis in general with a note on the differences between speech sound and phoneme and letter. The appendices deal with the system of transliteration adopted in this research work and a chart of Phonetic Alphabets proposed by the International Phonetic Association.
This project was supported by the Asiatic Society, Kolkata, where I worked as the Mm. H. P. Shastri Research Fellow in Linguistics. I am grateful to the authorities for giving me the opportunity to be associated with this illustrious institution. I would like to acknowledge with gratitude the help of Professor Satya Ranjan Banerjee for his kind guidance and supervision of the project. I am also grateful to Professor Subhadra Kumar Sen. I had the benefit of his useful suggestion, advice and critical comments on my work at various stages. I am also fortunate to have the privilege of being taught by them at the University of Calcutta.
The work was chiefly carried out at the library of the Asiatic Society. Besides, I have gathered materials from the National Library, the libraries of the University of Calcutta, the Sanskrit College and Alliance Francaise de Calcutta. Unfortunately, the last is yet to re-open fully after it was damaged by an accidental fire. I am thankful to all the staffs of these libraries for their kind co-operation. I am also grateful to my friends and colleagues who have gracefully agreed to act as informants at different times on my request during the data gathering process. I owe a special note of thanks to the authorities of the Society for arranging a computer along with a printer for the Research Fellows. This was helpful in finishing the work in stipulated time. The whole document was prepared with its help.
Last but by no means the least, I am indebted to my family for their generous help and support in all my projects including the current one-a service often taken for granted.
The responsibility of the work is mine. The credit I am happy to share with all those mentioned above.
6th January 2003
It is indeed heartening to place before the discerning scholars this new publication, "The Sounds of Bengali and French" by Ms. Aditi Ghosh, Mm. Haraprasad Shastri Research Fellow of the Asiatic Society. It is a multidisciplinary study and a testimony to the scholarly achievements of our Research Fellows.
This publication, I am sure, would be appreciated by the scholars engaged in the field of Linguistics, besides the general readers interested in learning French.
It is in the fitness of things that this publication is brought out when we are celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mm. Haraprasad Shastri.
January 15, 2003
Dilip Coomer Ghose
The Asiatic Society
From the Introduction:
1.1 A NOTE ON CONTRASTIVE ANALYSIS
The current work concentrates on analysing contrastively the phonological systems of two languages: Bengali and French. In the field of linguistics this king of study is known as Contrastive Analysis. It is a method of systematically comparing two linguistic systems in order to find out their similarities and differences. The emphasis, as the name would suggest, is on differences or points of contrast between the systems concerned. The emphasis on differences between linguistic systems can provide a deep insight into the languages concerned, since it is these differences that separates one language from another, or in other words, gives them their identity.
The aim of taking up such a work is also manifold. Contrastive Linguistics is believed to have some applications in the area of language teaching and learning. A study of contrast between the Native Language of the learner and the language to be learned, (the term Foreign Language or Target Language is preferred over Second Language to make it less restricted), may reveal areas which are likely to create problems in the process of learning. It is experienced that while learning a new language, the learner unknowingly transfers characteristics of his or her own native language to the language he or she is learning. This negative transfer happens at all levels: its phonemic system, its grammar and even in the lexical system. In phonology the learner is likely to transfer the phoneme, its variants, their distribution, the rhythm and stress pattern and the intonation of the native language. The learner would find problems not only in pronouncing but also hearing sound segments that are not similar to those present in his or her own native language. It is often seen that while listening learners tend to confuse the foreign sound segments with those of his own. In short, he replaces the new sound system with that of his native language. And in pursuit of listening or pronouncing new sounds he tends to replace them with the closest available sound of his or her own language. The reason of this type of interference of the native language is also quite understandable. Once a person becomes adept to a particular language as native language, he or she develops some muscular, psychological as well as emotional habits. These habits make it difficult for the learner to easily adopt the unfamiliar linguistic system and the learner to easily adopt the unfamiliar linguistic system and the learner automatically reacts by replacing it with the system he is familiar with. The degree of the interference of the native language may vary depending on various things including the learner's ability, his or her linguistic environments and the attitude towards the foreign languages, the way of teaching etc. But a these contrasts may minimise specific problems confronted by learners of specific native languages.
The Relevance of contrastive linguistics does not stop at teaching of foreign languages. It has connections with other fields of linguistic study as well. Among the earlier exponents of this field Uriel Weinreich and Haugen exploited its utility to look into the immigrant bilingual situations. Robert Lado, on the other hand, concentrated more on its usefulness in foreign language acquisition. Besides contrastive linguistics is relevant in the field of language typology, language universals, translation theories and description of particular languages.
Your email address will not be published *
Send as free online greeting card
Email a Friend