Communicating Correct Syntax Through Translation Activities


  • Perry Anastos

  • Perry Anastos (M.A., Teachers College, Columbia University) is a teacher of French at Babylon Jr./Sr. High School, Babylon, New York.


ABSTRACT The structure sheets presented in this paper offer translation activities to commmunicate correct syntax. Syntax mastered on the audiolingual level often cannot insinuate itself into students' minds when they are faced with translating or creating a sentence. They tend to ‘think in English.’ These structure sheets exploit this tendency, and the mechanical activities on English syntax lead the student to make a transition to the correct syntax in French. Throughout the year in a Level II class, such exercises were given to eliminate translating the present progressive and the past progressive (imperfect) word for word, and to develop more awareness of the reflexive construction, the imperfect tense, and the passé composé. The study described in this article observes the success of this approach. Working through the mother tongue to arrive at an understanding in the second language seems to be useful, in some instances, in the learning process.