Interference of Bahasa Malaysia (L1) in English (L2) Essay Writing Among Rural Malay Secondary School Students in Malaysia

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Second language learners seem to accumulate structural entities of the target language but demonstrate difficulty in organizing this knowledge into appropriate and coherent structures. When writing or speaking the target language (L2), second language learners are inclined to depend on their native language (L1) grammar and structures to produce a response. If the grammar and the structures of the two languages are distinctly different, then one could expect a relatively high frequency of errors to occur in L2, thus indicating an interference of L1 on L2 (Dechert, 1983 and Ellis 1997). Hence, this paper will primarily discuss and present an analysis of the effects of Bahasa Malaysia in influencing and interfering the acquisition of English among young Malay learners in rural Malaysian secondary schools. The data substantiating the discussion came from an empirical study of errors in descriptive essays written by Form 2 students in 3 schools in Malaysia. The findings of the study indicate that in spite of having gone through 7 years of learning English in school environment, the learners are still having difficulty in writing.


Keywords: Second Language Learners, Language Interference, Acquisition, Influence
Stream: Education and Social Welfare
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Rozmel Abdul Latiff

Lecturer, School of Language and Linguistics Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia

Rozmel Abdul Latiff is a lecturer at the School of Language Studies and Linguistics, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. Her research interests include English Language Learning and Teaching, Oral Communication and Cross-cultural Communication.She has been teaching at the faculty for the past 10 years.

Dr. Nadzrah Abu Bakar

Senior Lecturer, School of Language and Linguistics Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia

Nadzrah Abu Bakar is a senior lecturer at the School of Language and Linguistics Studies , Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. Her research interests include
Call, learner autonomy and language teaching and learning.

Ref: I08P0477