2005 Student Research Conference:
18th Annual Student Research Conference

Language & Literature

How Similar or Different are the Errors of Second Language Learners of Spanish and Free Online Machine Translation Software?: Distinction between Ser and Estar
Raymond G. Feilner Jr
Dr. Eric Jewell and Dr. Sally Cook, Faculty Mentors

I will share the results of an experiment I conducted in fall 2004 that compares and contrasts the misuse of the Spanish copulas (ser and estar) by second language learners of Spanish to that of English-Spanish machine translations. I propose that the problems faced in Spanish pedagogy and the manner that semantic information is mentally stored may be reflected in machine translation errors. This study focuses on cognitive semantics, foreign language acquisition, and Spanish pedagogy. It also includes a brief discussion of machine translation. Additionally, it provides quantitative data from more than 100 questionnaires from Truman students in various levels of Spanish. It is both intriguing and informative and may provide deeper insight into our current state of understanding how this common obstacle in Spanish pedagogy surfaces in Spanish students at different stages as well as provide a motivated analysis of how such developments may present themselves in machine translations.

Keywords: Spanish, Ser, Estar, Acquisition, Learning, Pedagogy, Copula, Machine Translation

Topic(s):Spanish

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 6-5
Location: VH 1320
Time: 9:15

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