Influence of Chinese in Second Language Acquisition- English

The paper aims to study the negative transfer of spoken English among the Chinese students. To achieve the objectives of this work, the students majoring in English at XJTLU, will be interviewed at Starbucks, and allowed sufficient time to offer their responses. Subsequent analysis of the questionnaires will be done, to come up with a conclusion regarding the topic under study.

Data Collection Plan

Acquisition of the second language, with a focus onEnglish, has been a challenge among the Chinese students. The primary research question that guides the study is;

How does the negative transfer of English among the Chinese students affects their learning?

The data was collected from a pedagogical context since this is a topic that can only be contributed to by the individuals who have had the experience of a second language. The attention was directed to students in learning institutions, or teachers who have taught English among the Chinese speaking people.

According to Patton (1990),there are about twenty-four available strategies of sampling. They are all consolidated into two forms, that are described as random and non-random sampling. Random sampling relies on probability, and it is further subdivided into simple, systematic and stratified. On the other hand, nonrandom sampling is non-probabilistic and is identified into convenience, snowball and purposive. The selection of any of the method is dependent on the nature of the data one is dealing with. For this case, convenience sampling is adopted since it is cheap and does not consume a lot of time. Since the topic under consideration can have a broad base of audiences, it is necessary to focus on a selective group of people, who would represent the comprehensive view of the population. The ethical issue that would arise in the process of data collection is excessive interrogation of the participants, that might lead to revealing of personal information.

According to Creswell (1998), there are two forms of data collection that can be applied to both qualitative and quantitative analysis. They are parallel and sequential. In parallel, both the data from quantitative and qualitative are used, to test the hypotheses that are formed to guide the research work. On the other hand, sequentialapplies only one of the forms. The qualitative method allowsmeaningful gathering data from the participants’ feelings and opinions regarding the issue at hand; in this case, the influence of Chinese language in learning the English language. The appropriate tools to use are open-ended questionnaires, interviews, and observations. The questionnaires would help the participants to detail their views, and the interviews primarily focus on those who cannot express themselves accurately. In the same vein, incorporating the aspect of observation would serve the purpose of learning somebody languages, as the sampled population comprises of Chinese, who might not have excellent mastery of English. It would help in eliminating the biases in data collection.

Data analysis of the Selected Sample

According to Nunan (2011), the purpose of data analysis is to help in finding a conclusion regarding the issue that is under investigation. In his proposition, he affirms that qualitative and quantitative data adopt different forms of analysis, hence the need for understanding the kind of research someone is conducting. In this case, the primary point of concern is qualitative. Therefore, the appropriate method that would help to shed more insight is gathering the information in the form of themes. The importance of such an analysis is that it is possible to understand the emotions and views of the people, from a direct point of view.

To comprehend what the participants mean by their responses, the interview answers from the sampled population would be studied thoroughly. This processes assist in comparing the responses and relate the same with some of the theories regarding the issues from the secondary sources of information. The main idea of doing so is to avoid the chances of biases and improve the credibility of the results.  Rogers (2004), in his study, noted that the validity of any research is mostly reliant on how well the researcher can relate the themes and arrive at the amicable conclusion that can be based upon to outhouse awareness regarding an issue. The study was evaluated in the items discussed below.

One is negative voice transfer. Based on the responses of the participants, they noted that Chinese that aims to learn English as the second language have a problem of pronouncing particular words in the right voice intonation. They pointed out that some do it in the wrong way, or even prolong the syllables, which makes the ordinary words sound wrong. A reference to the phrase thank[θæŋk] and sing[siŋ], Chinese students often read [sænk] and [sin]. This is a significant problem, especially in oral form, because an individual might fail to understand the actual meaning so easily.  Research conducted by Dakowska (2017) noted that any slight mistake in the reading of words can have significant problems, that in time of their use might result in difficulties in interpretation.

Another point of consideration is the negative vocabulary transfer. By definition, vocabulary is referred to as the set of words, that are used to apply to items that we see or use in our daily life. They are words that are used for the proper construction of sentences.  The interviewed participants noted that the Chinese those that are learning the second language sometimes use the wrong vocabularies in the process of communication. They tend to use words that have different meanings from the actual ones, hence causing some form of confusion in the conversation. For example, blue books, many people directly translate the yellow paper, “turn on” and “open” mean “open” in Chinese. A similar case is found in the case of negative grammatical transfer. For example, some students would say “My dream finally come true” instead of My dream has finally come true.” The statement might appear and sound correct, but in regards to the grammatical rules that guide the English language, the phrase is not in the right format.

The study confirms that the influence of the first language to learning English has significant consequences, streaming from misunderstanding of the concepts to violating the accepted way of sentence construction. From the responses of the participants, it was clear that the enthusiasm of the teacher teaching the English language affected the effectiveness of accuracy. Also, they confirmed that the longer the time of exposure to the English language, the better an individual became. This is supported by Dakowska (2017) who noted that learning a second language is primarily guided by the length of exposure and willingness to learn. There is a need to do further research, to confirm the duration of exposure to learning English.


Creswell, J. W. (1998). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five traditions. London: Sage Publications.

Dakowska, M. (2017). How to Deal with Applications in Foreign Language Learning and Teaching (FLLT). Second Language Learning and Teaching, 17-33.

Nunan, D. (2011). Classroom Research in a Chinese Context: A Review. Chinese Journal of Applied Linguistics, 34(3).

Patton, M. (1990). Qualitative evaluation and research methods (pp. 169-186). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.

Rogers, R. (2004). Storied Selves: A Critical Discourse Analysis of adult learners’ literate lives. Reading Research Quarterly, 39(3), 272-305.