Edited by Robert Fuchs and Valentin Werner
[International Journal of Learner Corpus Research 4:2] 2018
► pp. 195–224
The use of stative progressives by school-age learners of English and the importance of the variable context
Myth vs. (corpus) reality
Previous studies indicate that even advanced learners of English as a Foreign Language and speakers of English as a Second Language extend the progressive to stative verbs, contrary to the predictions of the Aspect Hypothesis (AH). We test this claim based on a corpus of beginning and lower intermediate learner writing produced by speakers of three languages with and three without a progressive. In contrast to previous studies, we measure the frequency of stative progressives using the variable context method, which is frequently used in research on dialectal variation. Results reveal that stative progressives are very rare at the beginning/lower intermediate level, regardless of the presence of a progressive in the learners’ L1, confirming the claim of the AH for beginning and lower intermediate learners. Moreover, stative progressives mostly occur in contexts that are grammatical in native usage, especially in the interlanguage of learners with a progressive in their L1.