The research area of the paper is a cross-linguistic affect or as otherwise known transfer. Specifically, I propose to look at orthographic transfer and its potential results on English native speakers’ pronunciation of segmentals in German as their second terminology.

The simple fact that orthography can affect second terms pronunciation is identified by many spanish teachers. Nevertheless, there is not enough research for such impact plus more research is needed (Bassetti, 2008). Past research on orthographic copy has mainly viewed its effects on reading and spelling (Jarvis & Pavlenko, 2008). Make and Bassetti (2005) argue that writing system copy is split from language copy keeping that “it isn’t so much aspects of the language that may be transported over as the traits of a specific writing system” (p. 29). Jarvis and Pavlenko (2008) agree with the above statement; nonetheless they also emphasize the importance of the connection between orthographic copy and language use, since it pertains to the orthographic results on phonology and vice versa. According to Jarvis and Pavlenko, through the development of L1literacy skills, which uses the phonetic alphabet, important sound-letter correspondences are attained which later can be used in the acquisition and use of the second dialect. Before proceeding any further, the talk of two key terms that are thoroughly used in this paper as well as their meanings as suggested by the analysts in the field of SLA is necessary. The terms are writing system and orthography.

Don't use plagiarized sources. Get Your Custom Essay on
Cross Linguistic Affect English Terms Essay
Just from $13/Page
Order Essay

The first term to define is writing system. Coulmas (1999) defines writing system (WS) as “a set of visible or tactile signals to represent devices of words in a organized way” (p. 560). There are various types of writing systems depending on what type of linguistic products they represent (Bassetti, 2005). Consequently, there are writing systems whose linguistic products are consonants hence the name consonantal WSs (for example, Hebrew and Arabic). Morphemic WSs are displayed by morphemes (Chinese) and alphabetic WSs are displayed by phonemes (English, German, and Spanish). Furthermore, there’s also syllabic WSs whose linguistic items are syllables (Japanese). This paper will specifically focus on alphabetic writing systems of English and German dialects designed to use the same script – the Roman alphabet.

The term writing system pertains to orthography which is the next term and is also thought as “a couple of guidelines for using script in a particular language, such as sign- phoneme correspondences, capitalization, punctuation, etc. ” (Coulmas, 2003, p. 35). For instance, in English orthography the letter №s№ is read as /s/ and in German orthography as /z/ (Benware, 1986). Thus, the same script- the Roman alphabet- is employed in another way in the British and German orthographies. Orthographies of the same kind of alphabetic writing system and script are also varied in their ‘regularity’ of sound-symbol correspondences (Cook & Bassetti, 2005). For example, in English, the letter №a№ maps to different phonemes in words such as ‘park, bank, and ball’, whereas in German the same notice №a№ has only 1 pronunciation /a/ as in German nouns Park, Ball, Bank (Goswami, Ziegler, & Richardson, 2005). English orthography is very inconsistent in terms of its sound-letter correspondences thus it is considered to have deep orthography. Languages such as German, Italian and Spanish have relatively regular letter-to-sound correspondences, so their orthographies are shallow or as in any other case called phonologically transparent (Cook & Bassetti, 2005). Thus, it ought to be easier for British native speakers to obtain German sound-letter correspondence guidelines than for German native speakers to acquire English sound-letter correspondence rules. Nevertheless, there’s been observed a considerable number of segmental mispronunciations by English native sound system learning German as a foreign language. Therefore, the question comes up whether the knowledge of L1 orthography comes with an effect about how English native speakers pronounce segmentals in German or any kind of other factors such as cognate status or the age of acquisition that contribute to the orthographic copy?.

Literature review

The focus of the paper is to explore whether the knowledge of L1 (English) orthography, particularly its sound-letter correspondence guidelines, is transferred to L2 (German) and whether it includes any positive or unwanted effects on L2 pronunciation of segmentals in adult vocabulary learners of different effectiveness levels. The paper also aims at investigating whether there’s a factor of orthographic copy made by learners at different proficiency levels (start, intermediate and advanced). Finally, the study will examine whether a lexical factor such as cognate position has either positive or negative influence on the acquisition and use of German as a foreign language.

A quantity of studies have reviewed orthographic effects on either spelling or reading. Many reports also have viewed the effects of L1 orthographic experience on L2 word learning and decoding. However, there has been little research analyzing the consequences of orthography on phonology and vice versa. Relating to Hayes-Harb, Nicol, and Barker (2010) no research has evaluated spelling conventions of the native and second dialects where both share the same script. Although there is some proof the partnership between orthographic and phonological representations in learning new vocabulary, more research is needed to shed light on this phenomenon (Hayes-Harb et al. , 2010).

As this study examines orthographic copy from English to German, the idea of cross-linguistic similarity should be studied under consideration especially given the actual fact that both dialects share a substantial quantity of cross-linguistic similarities in cognate, lexical, phonological, and writing systems areas. Ringbom and Jarvis (2009) discuss the value of cross-linguistic similarities in spanish learning. Specifically, they maintain that learners rely on their prior linguistic knowledge to check out similarities alternatively than differences between your L1 and the TL. Ringbom and Jarvis also declare that second terms learners make reference to their earlier linguistic knowledge typically at the start periods of second words acquisition. Another important factor such as phonetic understanding and phonetic sensitivity should not be neglected. Piske (2008) maintains that children develop phonetic level of sensitivity to talk contrasts specific with their L1 a long time before they begin read and write and at exactly the same time their ability to perceive non-native speech contrasts (L2) weakens with age group. So for adult terms learners perceiving non-native conversation contrast and may seem that are particular to the mark language is difficult. To build up phonological awareness and awareness would require an considerable practice and frequent exposure to concentrate on vocabulary. Considering this simple fact, Piske areas that adult terms learners are affected by writing systems of the L1 during L2 acquisition. Therefore this results in learners pronunciation errors which are from the reliance on L1 grapheme-phoneme correspondence rules. Especially this identifies the instances when sound-letter correspondences are inconsistent between the L1 and L2.

Odlin (1989) also provides enough evidence compiled from different studies that illustrate the clear effect of first language effect on L2 conversation creation and orthography. Odlin states that similar writing systems in L1 and L2 stand for a much easier job for learners acquiring a new language. The exact same however, cannot be said of pronunciation, as other variables may influence decoding of written symbols in L2. Flege, Freida, Walley, and Randaza (1998) examined whether lexical factors such as frequency, familiarity, cognate status and the age of acquisition impact production. The authors provide an information into what role the cognate position of words can play and how it effects talk development. More specifically, Flege et al. declare that degree of recognized relatedness may differ depending on amount of cross-linguistic similarities the L1 and L2 talk about. Specifically, they point to the closeness of cognate pairs in L1-L2 in their so this means and especially in sound. This newspaper will also look at whether cognate pairs affect L2 pronunciation of goal sounds. Based on these statements additionally it is likely that English-speaking learners of German will count on their understanding of British sound-letter correspondence rules when speaking or reading in the mark language. This might lead to either mispronunciation of certain sound-letter correspondences that are inconsistent with English orthography or it may have facilitatory effects on L2 phonology acquisition.

In conditions of findings several studies particularly stand out. Young-Scholten (2002)1 provides proof orthographic effects on the creation of German consonants by British speakers. Another analysis conducted by Young-Scholten, Akita, and Mix (1999)2 also shows evidence of the effects of written representations on the pronunciation of consonant clusters in learners of Polish as a second language. These conclusions led the researchers to conclude that there is a marriage between orthographic representations and L2 phonology. Other studies looking into the consequences of orthography on second words phonology display that second dialect learners’ pronunciation can be affected by orthographic type (Bassetti, 2007).

Bassetti (2007) evaluated the effects of pinyin (a romanized version of the Chinese language) on pronunciation in learners of Chinese as a spanish. The author predicted that orthographic representation of pinyin would cause learners’ not pronouncing the main vowel in the rhymes whose transcription does not symbolize that main vowel as in rhymes /iu/ which maps to [iou], /ui/ – [uei] and /un/ – [un]. The results of the study suggest strong influence of pinyin orthographic rules on the pronunciation of Chinese language rhymes. Specifically, learners of Chinese language as a foreign language would delete the primary vowel, which is not present orthographically; nonetheless they would always pronounce the same main vowel in the rhymes /you/, /wen/, and /wei/ (Bassetti, 2006; Bassetti, 2007).

One of the most recent studies conducted by Hayes-Harb et al. (2010) provides some evidence of orthographic impact on the acquisition of the phonological varieties of new words. Within this analysis, Hayes-Harb et al. recreated conditions in which content experienced learning new vocabulary in a fresh language. The purpose of the analysis was to investigate whether the presence of the written form of the new words afflicted the learning of their phonological form. Thus, indigenous speakers of English were divided into three communities. The first group was given the written varieties of new words which were inconsistent with English spelling. The second group was offered words that were matching the British sound-letter correspondences. The third group got only an auditory input and no written varieties of the new words were provided. The results proven that L1 orthography interfered with students’ ability to learn new words in particular when new vocabulary differed from British sound-letter correspondences. While Hayes-Harb et al. (2010) provide some proof orthographic effects in the process of learning new phonological varieties of words, the creators admit that the technique is a book one and in the foreseeable future should be manipulated by learner’s spelling capacity.

Previous studies also show clear ramifications of a marriage between orthography and phonology in second terminology acquisition. Much of the research has analyzed orthographies that use different writing systems, and since Hayes-Harb et al. (2010) explain hardly any research has been done investigating the effects of orthographies on L2 pronunciation within the same writing system and script. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to investigate further the notion of orthographic transfer by analyzing the partnership between orthography and phonology of two languages that talk about the same script and the following research questions are dealt with in this paper:

Is orthographic copy statistically present in the test?

Do results vary and are they statistically significant between different effectiveness levels?

What is the type of romantic relationship between error score and students’ perceptions of cognate position?


2. 1 Participants

The participants of this review were 28 undergraduate American English audio system from Ohio University. The students were enrolled in the 100, 200 and 300 degrees of German as a spanish. The levels vary by effectiveness. The 100 level emerges to beginners, the 200 level is an intermediate level, and the 300 level is educated to the advanced students respectively. Each effectiveness level includes a three one fourth sequence get together four hours per week with regular home work assignments. Every year series of German series focuses on developing all four terminology skills (tuning in, speaking, reading, and writing).

2. 2 Materials and procedures

The study consisted of two stages: the screening process phase and the data collection phase. Through the screening stage, students enrolled in all three proficiency levels volunteered to complete an online words background survey. The purpose of this review was to choose potential individuals for the analysis by controlling several variables that can have had an effect on the results. It was set up in such a way that members could be screened based on their replies to the first three questions. Thus, those who did not qualify for the analysis were automatically taken away without going over all of the survey questions. First of all, it helped get rid of the students with any reading or conversation disorders. In addition, it helped exclude those students who were taking another spanish course along with German. The survey also taken away the students who had taken a spanish apart from German significantly less than this past year, that could have contributed to transfer from that terms into their knowledge and use of German. In addition, information such as students’ determination, period of time they have analyzed German and enough time put in in German speaking countries was collected through this survey. As a result, out of 63 students who got volunteered to complete the review, 28 were certified and participated in the data collection phase. The selected members included nine beginners, eight intermediate-level students, and eleven advanced-level students.

The data collection period consisted of three tasks administered in the following order: a casual reading aloud process, a formal reading aloud activity, and a notion activity. All three responsibilities were performed by the students during specific single session meetings lasting 15 minutes.

Reading aloud is considered to be the best way to test the data of sound-letter correspondences. It offers good control and permits comparison of conversation examples from different content. Reading aloud is also a method that is widely used in a spanish class thanks to which individuals feel convenient during data collection (Madsen, 1983). During the informal reading activity, students were asked to read aloud a German wording which was adapted in order to focus on certain German consonants and consonant clusters as detailed in Tables 1 and 2. The inventory packages (see Desk 1) include incongruent grapheme-phoneme correspondences students presumably could have got the most difficulty producing.

Table 1. Incongruent grapheme-phoneme correspondences

Sounds are present in both dialects, but are represented with different letters

German phoneme-grapheme


English phoneme-grapheme



№w№ / [v] e. g. , Wind [vnt]

№v№ /[v] eg. : truck [vn]


№v№ / [f] e. g. , Vogel [fo№gl]

№f№ / [f] eg. : enthusiast [fn]


№s№ / [z] e. g. , sinken [zkn]

№z№ / [z] eg. : zone [zo‰ n]


№s№/[‰] when followed by

e. g. , Sport [‰prt]

№s№ / [‰] when followed by

eg. : glow [‰an]


№s№ /[‰] when followed by

e. g. , Scholar [‰tudnt]

№s№ / [‰] when accompanied by

eg. : shed [‰d]

Sounds are different in both dialects, but are displayed with the same letters


№t№/ [ts] e. g. , Tradition [traditsio№n]

№t№/[‰] e. g. , traditions [tr№ d‰http://sp. dictionary. com/dictstatic/dictionary/graphics/luna/thinsp. pngn]


№z№/ [ts] e. g. , Zimmer [tsm]

№z№ / [z] e. g. , area [zo‰ n]


№ch№/[] e. g. , sportlich [‰prtl]

№ch№/ [t‰] e. g. , rich [rt‰]

Also is roofed a couple of congruent phoneme-grapheme correspondences which exist in both English and German dialects (see Table 3).

Table 3. Congruent grapheme-phoneme correspondences

Grapheme-phoneme correspondences existing in both languages

German examples

English examples






№b№ maps to [b]

№n№ maps to [n]

№l№ maps to [l]

№t№ maps to [t]

№p№ maps to [p]

Bank [bak]

Nuss [n‰ s]

Land [lant]

Tag [ta№k]

Park [playground]

Bank [bk]

Nut [n‰t]

Land [lnd ]

Tag [tg ]

Park [p˜rk ]

To test students’ pronunciation of the targeted German segmentals with regards to potential transfer results, each grapheme-phoneme correspondence shown in Tables 1 and 2 was experienced at least twice in the informal reading task and once in the formal reading activity. Students’ readings in both duties were recorded in a soundproof taking laboratory using music recording software. Through the first task, students had one minute to read the written text silently before being saved.

The formal reading job followed the informal one and required the participants to read words with the targeted does sound in isolation. What in the formal task were a subset of those found in the informal process and some of them were cognates with English. Finally, during the perception job students were required to categorize a list of both cognate and non-cognate German words in terms of the similarity to any of the British words. Students had to rate what on a three-point size (1=same; 2= similar; 3= dissimilar) relying on their own perceptions. Desk 3 below contains types of words students graded in the perception task.

Table 3 Categorization of cognate and non-cognate words

Same meaning





Ger. Wind

Eng. Wind

Ger. Sturm

Eng. storm

Ger. Viel

Eng. many

Ger. Student

Eng. Student

Ger. Milch

Eng. Milk

Ger. Vogel

Eng. bird

Ger. Winter

Eng. Winter

Ger. Temperatur

Eng. Temperature

Ger. Zeit

Eng. time

Ger. Warm

Eng. Warm

Ger. Wetter

Eng. Weather

Ger. Zimmer

Eng. room

Ger. Sport

Eng. Sport

Ger. Naturlich

Egn. Naturally

Ger. traurig

Eng. sad

Ger. Tradition

Eng. Tradition

Ger. Sportlich

Eng. sporty

Ger. Information

Eng. Information

Ger. Sonne

Eng. Sun

Ger. Strudel

Eng. Strudel

Results from these responsibilities revealed if the reliance on first words orthography experienced a positive or negative influence on students’ pronunciation of segmentals in German. The mispronunciations in the recordings were quantified, categorized and noted in a data document. Their performance was then codified and moved into in the data file. Finally, scholar survey responses and determining information collected through the questionnaire were matched with individuals’ reading performance results and the conception task. Once the review information and performance results were merged, the info was de-identified to ensure the confidentiality of the members.

Data research and results

In order to handle the first research question of whether orthographic copy is statistically present in the sample, the Wilcoxon Signed-Rank Test, the nonparametric option to the paired-sample t-test was used to examine whether the members’ pronunciation mistakes were statistically more prevalent in instances of incongruent sound-letter correspondences between the L1 and L2 than in conditions of congruent sound-letter correspondences. That is, we tested whether the participants’ circulation of errors and successes is keyed to the precise ways in which the L1 and L2 are related in terms of sound-letter correspondences. The results of the test discovered that orthographic transfer is statistically present in the test (p=. 00). Students indeed produced more mistakes in conditions of incongruent sound-letter correspondences and there have been zero variety of mistakes in instances with congruent sound-letter correspondences.

In order to handle our second research question concerning whether there may be any difference in the mean scores between effectiveness level categories, The Kruskal Wallis test was performed. This test was conducted on the results of the reading responsibilities of the experiment to test if the things from the three proficiency level teams differed significantly in producing German segmentals [, f, ts, ‰p, ‰t, z, v]. It was assumed that the distribution of errors would be more prevalent in the rookie level group instead of intermediate and advanced categories. The results shown a big change in mean ratings between all three proficiency teams for both casual and formal reading tasks (p =. 009). The results of the descriptive statistics are summarized below in Stand 5.

Table 5 Mean mistake scores for every single proficiency level

Beginners group indicate score

Intermediate group mean score

Advanced group mean score

Group Mean

Informal reading task

22. 50

15. 58

8. 00

14. 83

Formal reading task

20. 42

13. 85

5. 41

12. 64

Cumulative mistake mean

43. 37

30. 43

13. 41

27. 90

Valid N





Finally, in our last research question we examined the relationship between students’ performance ends in both reading tasks and their perceptions regarding cognate position of what. For this function a correlation research was conducted to examine what kind of romantic relationship there exist between the number of mistakes produced in the target sounds and the amount of students rating the words as same or dissimilar. Because of this, relationship coefficient between error score and lots of students ranking what as same discovered a weakened negative marriage between these two variables, with correlation coefficient r = -. 47. On the other hand, correlation research between error credit score and a number of students rating the words as dissimilar proved a moderate positive relationship between the variables with r =. 57.


The present research is exploratory in its aspect the results show evidence of orthographic transfer in the sample. By that people imply that students do tend to rely on their L1 understanding of sound-letter correspondence guidelines specifically in the instances of incongruent sound-letter correspondences between the L1 and L2. The results also show a big change in mean problem ratings at different effectiveness levels. Thus, the beginner level students produced the best number of errors in targeted segmentals than students from intermediate and advanced levels. These results support the idea Ringbom and Jarvis’s (2009) mentioned that the second terms learners rely more on their past linguistic knowledge at an early on phases of second language acquisition. This especially pertains to the languages that share a substantial range of cross-linguistic features in cognate, lexical, phonological and writing systems, as in case there is British and German.

The results of the analysis are also in line with previous findings of Piske (2008), which recommended that adult learners are inspired by the writing systems of the L1. A considerable number of errors were observed in producing in seven out of eight German segmentals [, f, ts, ‰p, ‰t, z, ts] apart from [v] which maps to №w№ in German. For instance, the highest variety of errors students produced was the German consonant №g№ in expression final which maps to palatal fricative [] when preceded by forward vowels as in traurig and consonantal cluster №ch№ in expression final which also maps to palatal [] in words such as Milch, natјrlich, sportlich. Students produced both of these noises as [k]. They also lost German №v№ which maps to [f] with its British counterpart [v]. Precisely the same was witnessed with the other two German consonants №s, z№ which map to [z, ts] respectively and were pronounced as British phonemes [s, z]. This is explained by the actual fact that all German consonants mentioned above are symbolized by the same graphemes in English, which resulted in students mispronunciations. Interesting results were extracted from the words that covered labio-dental [v] which in German maps to №w№ grapheme. None of them of the students acquired problems producing this sound despite the fact that the same grapheme /w/ maps with an approximant [w] in English. This may be interpreted as following: it appears easier for students to produce sounds that are considerably apart in conditions of their place of articulation than for case, the noises that vary only in their voicing. Thus students in this review acquired difficulty to devoice fricative [f] in German since it is symbolized by grapheme №v№, which in British maps to voiced fricative [v]. Members of this research also battled producing consonantal clusters № st, sp № which in German dialect map to [‰t, ‰p]. Although British has phoneme [‰], it is out there in several phonetic environment and is also never followed by [p, t] phonemes in onset. Therefore students lost both of these consonantal clusters with their British counterparts and produced them as [sp] for example English ‘sport’ or [st] such as English ‘scholar’.

Lastly, the understanding task yielded relatively ambiguous results. It appears that there might be a relationship between your error rating and lots of students rating what as dissimilar. Nonetheless, this must be investigated in the future research using a larger test as there is inadequate amount of data to highly support the results. For additional information regarding error credit score and the students’ perceptions see Stand 6 in Appendix A.


The reason for this research was to discover to what scope English-speaking learners of German rely on the English orthography and whether the presence of cognate words ends in mispronunciation in the prospective terminology or vice versa helps learners to obtain L2 phonology. Given what was found (a) research that English orthography, specifically its grapheme-phoneme guidelines inhibits learners’ pronunciation of German segmentals, (b) facts that learners were affected by L1 writing system typically at the start stages of second vocabulary acquisition, and (c) some proof potential relationship between the problems produced and students’ perceptions of cognate status, we may consider some sensible implications for spanish school room as well as future research implications.

As Hayes-Herb et al. (2010) suggested language teachers might find it beneficial showing new vocabulary using in the beginning auditory input only. This might particularly refer to the non-cognates words as students in this research made more problems in words that they rated as dissimilar with English. At the same time, it can be ideal for learners to get written suggestions of the words which contain German №w№ in word original, as students produced zero problems, which might suggest that in this particular case written insight positively affected learners’ pronunciation. It is therefore important for terminology instructors to understand orthographic transfer and its negative and positive effects so that they can address this information consequently in their school room. Alternatively more research is required to support these findings. For this function a more complete study with a more substantial sample would help to expand the existing evaluation of data and make the studies generalizable for a larger population of students learning German as a foreign language. Teacher research might reveal whether language instructors concentrate on orthographic copy or is it something new to them as well in regards to what extent they concentrate on pronunciation of these specific sounds that could be problematic because of the reliance on L1 sound-letter correspondence rules in their class room. The results can provide valuable insights that can be applied to the coaching of German as a foreign language.

Furthermore, given the range of this analysis only eight German segmentals were investigated. Evaluating other segmentals whose orthographic representations exist only in German (for example, №№, №ј, ¶, №) or segmentals whose may seem exist only in German but are displayed by the same graphemes (for example German №r№ which maps to several phonemes [‰, ‰, r] depending on the in term position) would obviously provide better results along the way British and German orthographies connect to German as a foreign language phonology.

To conclude, as the this study attempted to address questions about how orthography of L1 and its own sound-letter correspondence rules can be used in L2 phonology resulting in mispronunciation of certain segmentals still more research upon this topic is necessary.