In the English language, like any other language, there are words that co-occur with high frequency, and there are words which naturally do not co-occur. So the role of foreign language teachers is to raise awareness in learners that all types of combinations or collocations are not acceptable in English.
As a matter of fact, teachers can be claimed to be an essential part of education, as Finocchiaro and Bonomo (2006) referred to the role of teachers as vital to learning skills and habits (Moshayedi, 2009). They might be involved in different steps which students want to take. As an EFL teacher, one of the obsessions, particularly in lower levels, can be how to deal with the students' first language (L1). Some teachers do their best to encourage students to keep using English and not to switch to their L1. As a matter of fact, there are various approaches towards using L1 in EFL classes. Some approaches which embrace structural linguistics state that L1 is interfering and should not be used in classrooms, whereas some other theories such as Counseling-Learning theory emphasize on the necessity of L1 in classes, and claim it is impossible to expect learners to leave their L1 background behind (Richards & Rodgers, 2001). Cook (2001), For instance, set out three reasons against using L1 in classrooms embracing Krashen's acquisition theory, which claims the process of L2 learning assimilates the process children pick up their L1 (Beressa, 2003). On the other hand, Beressa (2003) mentioned that L1 is like a scaffold for building up L2; therefore, translation is a tool to fill the gaps.
One of the shortages which beginners of English suffer lies within the realm of vocabulary. Liach and Gallego (2009) stated knowing a fairly big number of vocabulary is quintessential in learning L2. In this respect, facing a problem, beginners tend to resort to their L1 lexical system and they inevitably rely on translation (Hayati & Shahriari, 2010), firstly due to the lack of knowledge in English and secondly in order to make sure they are conveying or comprehending the correct message. However, as Hayati and Shahriari (2010) mentioned it distracts them from paying attention to contextual clues. In fact, when they start to produce English, they may ask a word in their L1 and want their teacher to give its equivalent in English, which demands teachers to enter the realm of translation. This translation can be to some extent problematic because some words may have more than one meaning or even different parts of speech in different contexts.
The aim of the present study is to contrastively study the problematic differences between some Farsi adjectives and their English equivalents (strong version of CA) to show the differences in meaning when teachers translate the Farsi adjectives into English without considering the context. It also intends to reveal the small nuances between words can be misleading too (moderate version of CA).
As a matter of fact, the researchers put 30 adjectives under study, but to put it in nutshell, they present some of the adjectives as exemplary.
2. Theoretical Framework
Contrastive analysis (CA), which is "largely associated with language teaching" (Ziahosseiny, 1999, p.5), has some implications in "the ways of expressing the same meaning in different languages" (p.9). In other words, CA concerns comparing two or more languages to "determine both the differences and similarities between them" (Keshavarz, 1999). Stern (1983) said CA did not aim to present a new method of teaching, but to describe across two languages and it can be useful for learning problems.
The strong version of CA claims to predict the difficulties of learning L2; it only describes the errors which are caused by L1 interference, and believes the more different the items of two languages are, the more difficult they are for learners. The moderate version which was brought up by Oller and Ziahosseiny (1970) considers both interlingual and intralingual errors and believes minimal differences are more problematic (Ziahosseiny, 1999; Keshavarz, 1999).
The annals of contrastive analysis and classrooms' translation abounds with studies on different aspects of language, such as grammar, vocabulary, adjectives, etc. since considerably long time ago, for instance, Keyvani (1977) worked on English and Persian sound patterning; Kujoory (1978) did a contrastive analysis of culture in literature; Jafarpur (1979) investigated the Persian and English articles; Newman (1988) analyzed the contrasts between the collocation related to cooking and dressing in Hebrew and English; Mirhassani (1989) contrastively analyzed the verbs in Persian and English; later in 2000, he put the Persian and English adjectives under study.…