Anthropology Final Essay NEW - Milo Brittany ANT2000 Affect...

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Milo, Brittany ANT2000 Affect Native Language has on Learning English as a Second Language 375 million people speak English as their second language. Can a person’s native language affect their ability to learn English as a second language? I am specifically interested in what causes the difference in language acquisition times and the factors that allow people to overcome language barriers. In order to answer this research question, I have interviewed two people who have learned English as a second language and have read a peer reviewed journal article on the topic. This research originally led me to believe that English was easier to learn as a second language when coming from a language that was similar in syntax. However, my researched had surprising results. In finding the answer to my research question, I was able to interview two people who learned English as a second language. An interview is a formal or informal conversation, which is formatted by the amount of control the interviewer wants to have on the interviewees’ responses, which allows for a researcher to find information to support or negate their topic of interest (Bernard; 2011). My first interview was with an 18-year-old female student at the University of Florida. It was done as a semi-structured interview where I had a list of questions and topics that needed to be discussed during the interview. I chose this interviewee because she is a friend who spoke both Hebrew and Portuguese before she spoke English. We sat down at Starbucks for an hour as she told me about her journey to learn English. In order to get more information out of the interviewee, I used different probing techniques throughout both interviews. In the first interview, when I asked the
Milo, Brittany ANT2000 interviewee if she feels that she speaks English like an American or like a foreigner I used the “uh-huh probe.” This is an affirmative response in order to promote the continuation of her original response, which allowed her to explain to me that she believes she speaks like an American, however other people do not believe so (Bernaard 2011). She states “I am frequently asked questions like ‘Are you foreign?’ and ‘Where are you even from?’’’ Additionally, I used the “baiting probe” where I acted like I already knew what the interviewee was going to say in order to get her to tell me more information that she would not have touched upon other wise (Bernard, 2011). I used this probe when I asked how ideas in her native language differ from the way that the English language sees them. When I first approached the question she was not sure how to answer it and gave me very little information. After using this probe and sharing

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