An Analysis of Native Language Transfer in English Writing for Non-English Major Students

Cailing QIN


Writing is considered to be an effective way to convey thoughts and feelings by written languages, which play a vital role in measuring learners’ comprehensive competence. As well, English writing is regarded as an indispensable item in English examinations, but actually college students’ writing performance is far from satisfaction. And it is suggested that native language transfer is one of the principal factors leading to the undesirable result.
This assay adopts transfer theory, contrastive analysis and error analysis theory to serve the research. The purpose of the research is to explore the influence of native language transfer in English writing for non-English major students. It employed both qualitative and quantitative research including writing test, questionnaire and interview. The subjects in this research are 120 sophomores in Henan Polytechnic University majoring in Computer Science & Technology and Civil Engineering. The research is conducted from three aspects—lexis, syntax and discourse and there are great findings: compared with male students, female students depend less on native language in the writing process; due to native language transfer the number of errors students make in lexis ranks the first followed by errors in syntax and the then the errors at discourse level; the involvement of native language transfer varies with different stages of writing.



Native language transfer; College English writing; Non-English major students

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