Dhi-English: Influence of Dhivehi language features on the English narratives of Maldivian ESL learners

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Zahra Mohamed


This qualitative descriptive study explored the influence of Dhivehi, the first language (L1) of the Maldivian students on learning English, their second language (L2). The questions raised in this paper enabled to identify morphological, lexical and syntactic transfer errors present in the narratives written by thirty-three students at secondary level from three schools in Male’, the capital of the Maldives. Transfer Analysis was used to analyze errors present in the English narratives written by Maldivian ESL (English as a Second Language) learners. The analysis uncovered negative transfer of Dhivehi linguistic features in their written English at morphological, lexical, as well as syntactic levels. The findings provide invaluable pedagogical implications for second language learning in the Maldivian context. Thus, it is recommended that ESL teachers as well as curriculum developers in the Maldives take into consideration the possibility of the influence of students’ mother tongue or Dhivehi linguistic features on the process of learning English. 

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