Subject-verb agreement in written English by L1 Norwegian university students: Error patterns, causes, and implication for teaching
This thesis investigates S-V agreement in written English by L1 Norwegian university students. The aim of the study is to chart out the most difficult conditions for S-V agreement at a later stage of L2 acquisition, which may need a special focus in explicit language teaching. The data are drawn from an analysis of learner language focusing on the feature of subject-verb agreement across different subject and verb types, based on a corpus of written English produced by Norwegian university students. The findings of the study indicate that Norwegian university students still struggle with non-local agreement and agreement with conjoined subjects, while local agreement no longer presents a problem at a later stage of L2 acquisition (based on the data available). It is also shown that S-V agreement by Norwegian learners at a university level is influenced, to a large extent, by intervening nouns in conflicting number between the subject and the verb, which gives rise to both omission and overgeneralization errors. Unlike findings from previous studies on S-V agreement by younger Norwegian leaners, the current research does not reveal any indication that overgeneralization errors are more predominant than omission errors, which challenges the claim that error patterns by Norwegian learners reflect L1 influence. It is argued, based on studies on S-V agreement by L2 learners with different L1 backgrounds, that overgeneralisation of the third person singular -s is a cross-linguistic phenomenon that emerges at a later stage of L2 acquisition.
PublisherUiT Norges arktiske universitet
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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