Aspectual contrasts in the English present tense revisited
Exploring the role of input and L1 influence
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.
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