Aspectual contrasts in the Englishpresent tense revisited
Exploring the role of input and L1 influence
Roumyana Slabakova |
University of Southampton |
The Norwegian University of Science and Technology
This study investigates the acquisition of aspectual contrasts in the English present tense by French and Chinese
learners of English at upper-intermediate to advanced proficiency levels. An oral production task and an interpretation task show
that the expression of the aspectual present tense does not always have to constitute an insurmountable barrier to learners of
English, at least for the upper-intermediate and advanced proficiency levels tested in this study. This successful acquisition is in spite of
the differences in L1/L2 feature expressions and the unexpected variability in the input. Our research highlights that teachers
must be aware of the one-sided variability of the native speaker usage (i.e. that the present simple form can express multiple
meanings, while the present progressive is associated with one meaning only) if they want to improve performance and comprehension
at lower proficiency levels.
Keywords: aspect, feature reassembly, L1 influence, French, English, Chinese, input
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