Language issues seem to have been the stumbling block for people’s communication for centuries. In his article “Cross-Linguistic Awareness: A New Role for Contrastive Analysis,” Carl James discusses the question concerning the contrastive analysis and its application for the comparative studies of two or more languages.
We will write a custom Critical Writing on A New Role for Contrastive Analysis specifically for you
301 certified writers online
Considering the following quote from Fries’ paper: “The most efficient materials are those that are based upon a scientific description of the language to be learned, carefully compared with a parallel description of the native language of the learner,” James makes it clear that, questioning the reasonability of a cross-linguistic analysis, the researchers are most likely to encounter considerable difficulties in reaching to the representatives of other cultures, hence, causing the entire learning process to shrivel.
While the author gives credit to both the arguments of Lado and Fries (Odlin, 1989), it is obvious that James is inclined to believe that Lado’s idea of a cross-linguistic analysis as the basis of successful communication is not reasonable enough, while Slobin’s arguments for the analysis actually make a lot of sense: “Slobin seems to be suggesting that Behaviourism has not been totally banished from language learning contexts after all” (James, n. d., 2).
Therefore, the seed of doubt is planted into the minds of the adepts of abandoning the CA.
It is also essential that James touches upon the related issues, such as culture learning, to prove the point. With the help of real-life case studies, James makes his argument all the more impressive, demonstrating the instances of cultural misunderstanding on an everyday level:
T1: Qu’est-ce que c’est, saucisson?
T2: Sausage, yes, what sort? What sort of sausage? Wall’s?
T3: Sort of salami type of sausage, that sort of sausage. (James, n. d., 3-4)
Touching upon the Audiolinguialist vetoes, James adds another interesting point to his chain of arguments to consider, such as the existence of other forms of English (e.g., the Irish dialect) the experience of which can also be considered from the cross-cultural point of view.
However, with the cross-cultural analysis no longer in existence, the experience would be impossible. In addition, James touches upon neo-Whorfianism, which presupposes that languages shape the thinking process greatly.
On the one hand, in the preset fast-changing world and the globalization process, the issues of cultural differences seem to have become slightly more insignificant (Suarez-Orozco & Qin-Hilliard, 2004). Since conveying a message is the primary goal of any communication, there is no need in any cultural background, only the language skills.
From the given standpoint, Fries’ ideas have the point. However, because of the differences between languages and the unexpected instances of misunderstandings caused by the existence of homonyms, homophones, or homographs in certain languages, the need for a cross-linguistic analysis becomes obvious (Karanth, 2003, 106).
Get your first paper with 15% OFF
When doubting the necessity to use the cross-linguistic analysis, researchers can possibly fail to deliver the information to the people of different cultures, mainly because of the differences in the cultural vision of language and information, which will most likely result in misunderstandings and further misconceptions.
When tossing the cross-linguistic analysis aside, people are not able to realize the specifics of the target culture and, therefore, will fail at conveying certain messages, which, in its turn, will backfire greatly when it comes to the feedback.
Despite the fact that the usefulness of a cross-linguistic analysis is being doubted nowadays, there are sufficient reasons to believe that it is only with the help of conducting the analysis in question that people are able to communicate even within the boundaries of different cultures.
James, C. (n. d.). Cross-linguistic awareness: A new role for contrastive analysis. PDF file. 3 January 2013.
Karanth, P. (2003). Cross-linguistic study of acquired reading disorders: Implications for reading models, disorders, acquisition, and teaching. New York, NY: Springer.
Odlin, T. (1989). Language transfer: Cross-linguistic influence in language learning. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Suarez-Orozco, M. & Qin-Hilliard, D. B. (2004). Globalization: Culture and education for a new millennium. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.