Celta Assignment 1 Example

Avoid resits

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Asking my opinion on the result o

f a football match (‘Who do you think will win the trophy?’).

Using the present continuous to describe an

ongoing action (‘I’m studying English to meet new people’).

Using an appropriate British English phrase to say goodbye (‘See you tomorrow’).

Student A is happy with the amount of vocabulary that he has learnt to date, and he felt that he understood most ofthe vocabulary taught in his previous course. He feels that he has sufficient vocabulary to be able to enjoy travellingand holidays in English speaking countries. At times though, he has a problem with the meaning of words, which is

evident when he encounters a ‘false friend’. In one lesson, a teacher asked him ‘have you ever been embarrassed?’,which was met with a definite ‘no’ and a look on his fac

e that suggested a mixture of surprise and confusion. I assume

that he took the word ‘embarrassed’ to be a translation of ‘embarazada’, a Spanish adjective that describes the state

of being pregnant.2. Student B.Student B is a 39 year old Spanish national, who works as a maintenance engineer. He started learning English 23years ago, but he has had four periods of three years during this time in which he did not attend any formal languageclasses. His first language is Catalan, and he speaks Spanish fluently, and some French and Italian.He originally started attending the language school (which he still attends) to help him with his studies at secondaryschool, and he has also leant it at the technical institute where he studied engineering and at his current workplace.To date, he has not taken any official examinations, but sees this as a possibility for the future.His reasons for learning English are a combination of extrinsic and intrinsic ones. The company that he works forincreasingly uses English to trade with multi-national companies, and he has used English when buying and sellingmachinery on behalf of the company.He regularly has to read and write e-mails in English, for example, when dealing with German companies that useEnglish as the

lingua franca 

for international trade. He also has to read technical literature in English, e.g. usermanuals for machinery. Due to this, he feels that he needs to improve his skills reading. He can understand thegeneral gist of what he reads in class without having to consult a dictionary constantly.Student B also learns English for his own

enjoyment, for example, to watch English language films. He hasn’t yet

visited an English speaking country, but has spoken English on holiday in Holland and Italy, with other Englishlearners. He feels that his knowledge of English was useful on both occasions, and enhanced his enjoyment of hisholidays.In the classroom, he enjoys speaking activities much more than grammar work. Grammar is the one thing that hedislikes the most and finds most difficult, and this was also the case when he started learning French and Italian.However, he is aware that disliking grammar is a disadvantage for language learners, and he knows that it is animportant aspect of improving his English. Like Student A, he dislikes phrasal verbs.

One frequent error that Student B makes is using the wrong preposition. An example of this was when he said ‘at theafternoon’

(rather than ‘in the afternoon’), which is a direct translation of ‘a la tarde’ in

Spanish and therefore anexample of first language interference.

He also omits the subject in a sentence, for example, ‘

it is important for me to

learn vocabulary’. This is another example of first language interference, as Spanish and Catalan do not alway


require the subject, e.g. ‘es importante para mi’. However, ‘



is necessary in English to make the sentence

grammatically correct. Virtually every member of Student A’s class regularly makes this mistake.

Another (less frequent) error that he makes is

‘pluralising’ English adjectives.

When he told me about the lack of time

that he has to learn vocabulary, he told me that he had ‘many others things to do’. Again, this is understandable, as

Spanish adjectives and adverbs unlike English ones, have plural f

orms. ‘Other things’ is therefore a direct translationsof ‘otras cosas’.

Sometime, Student B uses the wrong tense. For example, he sometimes uses the present simple to refer to a pastaction. When this happens, he usually realises his mistake, pauses, and repeats what he said using the correct tense.

He is also caught out at times by ‘false friends’. When he told me about the technical college that he attended, he said‘when I assisted the professional institution’. He was obviously thinking of the Spanish

 /Catalan verb,


, whichmeans

to attend 

.In fluency speaking, Student B mostly speaks and responds to questions with little or no hesitation. When listening, he

finds it more difficult to ‘tune in’ to some accents than others, for example, North Ame

rican accents are generally more


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