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Analysis of Interferential Errors of Kazakh-English Bilingual Students on the Level of Special Questions

Author: Sagymbayeva Dariga Nurakyzy, student of specialty “Foreign philology” L.N.Gumilyov Eurasian National University


As Kazakhstan is a multi-ethnic state bilingualism or multilingualism is more typical than particular case. The “Trinity of languages” is a priority of the program of address named “Kazakhstan-2050: new political course of the established state”. It is important to understand the essence of the strategic goals set by the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev: we must raise Kazakh language to the level of the world languages like Russian and English languages. There is a need to make full conditions to use Kazakh, Russian and English languages ​​ equally in our country. Of course it depends on the need for practical and functional efficiency. Therefore, the present the priority conditions should be directed to the language. It makes available to strengthen the status of the state language [1].

Today, linguists  focus their attention on the relations of the Kazakh - English languages. The appearance of English words is explained due to the rapid changes in the public and scientific lives [2, 384]. The entrance of foreign words in the native language are reasoned due to increase of information flows, the intensification of the global computer network and the internet, the international relations, the developing of the global market, economy, information, technology, the participation in the competitions, international festivals, fashion exhibitions.

Due to the growth of bilingualism in society, in recent years there has been made considerable progress in the study of theory in the language in contacts. The problem of language in contacts is closely related with linguistic interference. Linguistic interference is a result of connection of different systems of languages.

The concept “Interference” is important in the theory of learning a second language. Initially this term was used in the areal linguistics which studied only language contacts. However, the term interference has become a key understanding to applied linguistics after the work U.Weinreich about language in contacts [3; 263].

Linguistic interference occurs when there is verbal or written language contact, “verbal communication between two language communities” or learning situation (learning a foreign language). The term “linguistic interference” was introduced by representatives of the Prague Linguistic School as a process deviation from the norms of contact languages.

L.V.Scherba became the first Russian linguist, who described the phenomenon of interference. In his article “The issue of bilingualism” (К вопросу о двуязычии) he said about “mutual deviation of both languages, in practice of the study a foreign language, namely the deviation of the foreign language under the influence of the native” [4,424].

Taking into account the violation of the relationship between units and rules of language interference is divided into 2 types: syntagmatic and paradigmatic. In our article we research syntagmatic type of interference [5, 181].

Syntagmatics is the compatibility of rules and elements in different levels, and syntagmatic interference occurs when the student under the influence of the native language connects elements of learning language incorrectly. There are types of syntagmatic interference:

  1. plus-segmentation;
  2. minus – segmentation;
  3. intercatention;
  4. replasation; [5, 181].

Plus-segmentation is the phenomenon, when a student under the influence of his/her native language makes errors using more segments than required.

Minus- segmentation is reversive to plus –segmentation. It is a reducing elements of the learning language under the influence of distributive rules of the native language, that is to say, student uses fewer components than required.

           Intercatention is combination of two or more elements of the learning language by the model of the native language. At the same time, a new sign or a model occurs which is not present in the learning language. This phenomenon can be called phraseological interference.

Replasation is a comprising rearrangement of corresponding elements of the learning language under the influence of the native language. The student restructures the elements of learning language according to the model of the native language.

English interferential errors in the word order occur under the influence of the native language. The students who learn English confuse in the rules of two languages and as a consequence give way to interferential errors. This can be seen in the results of the experiment.

The experiment is based on the practical confirmation of theoretical hypotheses and conclusions from the analysis of the two considered languages(Kazakh-English). Experimental level of students was A1- according to the European competence model.

In order to highlight the learners’ interferential errors on the syntagmatic level, namely on the level of special questions, I introduced such tasks as:

  1. Ask special questions using words in brackets:
  1. The twins were born in June. (When…?)
  2. We had a great time in Disneyland. (Where…?)
  3. Mr. Black can play chess very well. (How…?)
  4. The salad is not fresh. (Why…?)
  5. My wife prefers juice to tea. (Who…?)
  6. Tom orders Japanese food every Friday. (What…?)
  7. I meet a lot of people at work. (Where…?)
  8. They will have lunch at home. (Where
  9. The film has just started. (What film
  10. I have been to the doctor. (Where…?)

Test consists of 10 questions. It was given to 25 students. Overall we have 250 answers, and 106 answers consider as errors. From the given test I found following errors:



Types of errors

The number of errors


miss auxiliary verb “to be”;



the location of the auxiliary verb after the initial position;



verb violation in the location;



the position of verb and auxiliary verb after the question word;



miss auxiliary verb “do”;



to overlook rules limitation of English;



lack of knowledge of English language rules;




Analyzing this pie chart we can consider that students mainly pay attention to the rules of native language and thus ignored rules of the English.

To the first type we assign: When the twins born? (the first question in the test) students missed verb were. Translated into the native language, the error does not occur: Egizder kashan tuyldy? (Егіздер қашан туылды?) Students should take into account the passive voice in English grammar, because in their native language (Kazakh) it is reflected in the ending –yl, yryksyz etis(-ыл, ырықсыз етіс).

The explanation of the second type “The location of auxiliary verb after initial position” can be found in the example: Why the salad is not fresh? (the fourth question). The student does not take into account the rules construction of interrogative sentence: Question - auxiliary - subject - infinitive.

The eighth question, Where they will have lunch? This example relates to the Verb violation. In the correct option it should be: Where will they have lunch?

In the fifth type Miss auxiliary verb “do” the sevens question can be an example: Where you meet a lot of people? As we can see students miss verb “do”.

“To overlook rules limitation of English” - What Tom orders every Friday? In this case, students consider the rule of ending  ‘s , but do not know the rule that in interrogative sentence used the verb does. It should be: What does Tom orders every Friday?

“Lack of knowledge of English language rules” in this case all students did the task without taking into account any rules of the English language. For example: How Mr. Black can to play chess? (3d question). Here, interrogative sentence is not properly constructed; to never take place after model verbs; the subject is placed after the verb. In the correct option it should be: How can Mr. Black play chess?

Overall, the frequency of occurrence of interference depends on two key factors:

1. The level of speech which developed in the Kazakh language and its conscious possession;

2. The level of English proficiency: the better student is fluent in English, the less appear interferential errors.

Summing up the article, I came to conclusion that the the results of our experiment confirm that the tutor should give more practical exercises for special questions in order to overcome the influence of native language on the level of word order and always warn the students that word order in special questions of English and Kazakh differ totally from each other.



  1. Nazarbayev N.A. Address by the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan. “Strategy Kazakhstan-2050”: new political course of the established state” 14.12.12.: http://www.akorda.kz/kz/page/page_218342_.kz

2. Khasanuly B. Языки народов Казахстана: от молчания к стратегии развития (Languages of Kazakhstan: from silence to a development strategy). - Almaty: Arda, 2007. - 384s.

3. Weinreich U. Языковые контакты: состояние и проблемы исследования (Language in contacts: status and problems of research) / tr. from English. and comments, 1979. - 263s.

4. Scherba L.V.  К вопросу о двуязычии (On the issue of bilingualism). - L., 1974. - 424c.

5. Karlinsky A.E.  Основы теории взаимодействия языков (Fundamentals of the theory of language interaction). - Alma-Ata: Gylym, 1990. - 181c


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