Cross-linguistic influence in the acquisition of the English determiner and tense-aspect systems by L1 Norwegian, L1 German and L1 Russian speakers
This thesis investigates the cross-linguistic influence in the acquisition of the English determiner (article) and tense-aspect systems by L1 Norwegian, L1 German and L1 Russian speakers. The field of Second Language Acquisition allows conducting research by comparing the influence of the certain features of different languages in relation to the target L2 that is being acquired. Such feature as English articles has proved to be quite challenging to be acquired by L2 English learners (Ionin, 2003; Ionin, Ko & Wexler, 2004 among others). While English, German and Norwegian are similar in their determiner systems and means of expressing definiteness and specificity, Russian lacks articles. This, in its turn, suggests the first part of this thesis which investigates the acquisition of the English articles among L1 Norwegian, L1 German and L1 Russian speakers from the perspectives of the Article Choice Parameter (Ionin, 2003) and the Fluctuation Hypothesis (Ionin, 2003; Ionin, Ko & Wexler, 2004). The second part of this thesis is focused on the acquisition of the English tense-aspect system by the same L2 groups. In particular, acquisition of the Present Perfect and Past Simple tenses. Norwegian, German and English are structurally very similar with regards to the PP and PS tenses. However, German Present Perfect differs semantically from its English counterpart. Russian is completely different from the English PP and PS systems. It does not have the Present Perfect tense, but instead the verbs are divided into aspects: perfective and imperfective. Thus, we can argue that such features as [present perfect] and [past simple] are expressed differently in the studied languages. This, in its turn, complies to the Feature Reassembly Hypothesis (Lardiere, 2008) which will help to investigate this issue. One hundred one L2 English and thirteen native English participants were recruited to take part in the online acceptability judgment task that contained 60 trials in total. Additionally, the participants were asked to fill in the background questionnaire prior to the test. The results of the study revealed that either way L2 English speakers are influenced by their L1s in the L2 acquisition of the English determiner and tense-aspect systems. The influence can be of two patterns: facilitative and/or non-facilitative. The Norwegian and German participants were mainly facilitatively influenced by their L1s in the part that tested the use of articles. However, the semantic frames of use of the German Present Perfect tense are what negatively influenced L1 German L2 English participants` performance in the tense-aspect part. The Russian participants were mainly negatively (or non-facilitatively) influenced by their L1 in the article use and the tense-aspect parts.
PublisherUiT Norges arktiske universitet
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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