Does the passé composé influence L2 learners’ use of English past tenses?
A semantic exploration of the present perfect in French-English interlanguage
This study explores the uses of the present perfect (PP) and simple past (SP) by French learners of English and assesses how those uses differ from those in native English and those of the passé composé (PC) in native French which, semantically, overlaps with PP and SP. Methodologically, the study is based on over 3,000 contextualized occurrences of PP, SP and PC, and includes cluster and collostructional analyses. Overall, relatively native-like form-function mappings in interlanguage emerge from the analyses, suggesting that, semantically, advanced learners have integrated the uses of past tenses and that the influence of the PC is relatively weak. Further, at an upper-intermediate to advanced proficiency level, learners have integrated the fine-grained contextual information characteristic of the use of English past tenses. Ultimately, the study shows how different methodological designs can lead to varying conclusions on the (non-)nativelike usage patterns of PP in interlanguage.
Keywords: present perfect, simple past, passé composé, French-English interlanguage, cluster analysis, collostructional analysis
- 1.1Setting the stage
- 1.2The relevance of French-English interlanguage to exploring past tense usage patterns in advanced learner English
- 1.3Present perfect vs. simple past: (Some) constraints behind the use of L2 tense morphology
- 1.4Methodological considerations
- 2.1Corpora and data extraction
- 2.2Semantic annotation
- 2.3Statistical evaluation: Hierarchical Cluster Analysis and (Multiple) Distinctive Collexeme Analysis
- 2.3.1Hierarchical Cluster Analysis
- 2.3.2(Multiple) Distinctive Collexeme Analysis
- 3.1(Cross-linguistic) cluster analysis
- 3.2Collostructional analysis
- 3.2.1Collostructional results for lemmas
- 3.2.2Collostructional results for lexical aspect
- 3.2.3Collostructional results for semantic domains
- 4.Discussion and concluding remarks
Published online: 31 May 2018
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Gries, Stefan Th., Santa Barbara, Justus Liebig & Sandra C. Deshors
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