Linguistic sibling rivalry: Mutual interference between Portuguese and Spanish
OSTP Journal Article
AIR FORCE ACADEMY COLORADO SPRINGS CO COLORADO SPRINGS United States
Pagination or Media Count:
The main objectives of this study were to better understand the bi-directional Spanish-Portuguese interference that might occur during the Portuguese language acquisition process, and especially how the level of prior Spanish fluency might impact that interference. Student translations English to Spanish and English to Portuguese and student attitudes were collected across a semester in an accelerated Portuguese class specifically designed for students with a background in Spanish. Our results indicate that, although more fluent Spanish speakers believed learning Portuguese would be easier than did the less fluent students, their acquisition of Portuguese was not systematically better than those who were less fluent in Spanish. However, those with less fluency in Spanish did show increasing interference from Portuguese in their Spanish as the semester progressed, while those who were very fluent in Spanish did not show interference from Portuguese. The project also allowed us to highlight specific words and patterns that teachers may want to emphasize to the students in the beginning of their study of the Portuguese language to avoid the formation of bad habits.