A lect-inclusive perspective on transfer


  • Nathaniel Lotze Dhofar University




Lect, EFL, Arabic speakers, Transfer


Contrastive analysis normally focuses on negative transfer and the rather fraught notion of standard language and tends to fall short in its ability to explain transfer, whether negative or positive. The language that learners actually speak is another source of transfer, and to downplay or ignore nonstandard varieties, or lects, is to leave out a crucial variable in the language learning process. This paper calls for a lect-inclusive perspective on transfer: one that recognizes transfer as a function of more variables than contrastive analysis of two standard languages is likely to turn up. The upshot is that there is more room for positive transfer via positive processing instruction when lect is accounted for. This perspective is exemplified by a critique of Smith’s (2001) contrastive analysis of English and Modern Standard Arabic. In the case of Arabic speakers, Arabic lects and/or a non-Arabic L1 or L2 can facilitate language learning. Lect inclusivity complements contrastive analysis of standard language, enabling teachers to draw upon their students’ L1 to support language learning and open up underutilized or unrecognized avenues for positive transfer in the areas covered by Smith (viz., phonology, orthography and pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, and culture).


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Author Biography

Nathaniel Lotze, Dhofar University

Nathaniel Lotze is a lecturer of English at Dhofar University. His research interests include topics of second language acquisition applied to English language teaching.


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How to Cite

Lotze, N. (2022). A lect-inclusive perspective on transfer. Journal of Language Teaching, 2(8), 1–7. https://doi.org/10.54475/jlt.2022.008



Original Research