Article published in:Study Abroad Research in Second Language Acquisition and International Education
Vol. 6:2 (2021) ► pp. 244–275
Advanced learners of Spanish abroad
An exploratory study of the development of past tense morphology
This study examines the progress made by a group of ERASMUS students in their use of the Spanish Preterite and Imperfect during a stay abroad. Advanced learners of Spanish (N = 12) and native speakers (N = 12) completed an impersonal narrative-based forced-choice test (INT) and an explicit knowledge questionnaire (EKQ). Results from the INT partially confirm the findings of previous studies which indicate that the expression of grounding distinguishes learners from native speakers. Our data show that only the foreground clearly distinguishes between the two groups, not the background. Responses to the EKQ reveal that learners use a variety of mechanisms for their selection of past tense morphology: formal instruction, translation into their L1, knowledge of other L2s and conversation with native speakers. This article suggests further research be undertaken to examine the impact of the learning context on students’ use of past tense morphology.
Keywords: advanced learners, L2 Spanish, Spanish Preterite and Imperfect, naturalistic exposure, formal instruction
- 2.Literature review
- 2.1Tense and aspect in Spanish: The preterite and imperfect
- 2.2The acquisition of past tense morphology
- 2.3The acquisition of the L2 Spanish Preterite / Imperfect distinction while abroad
- 3.The study
- 3.1Research design
- 3.3Formal instruction on Spanish past tense morphology in the SA context
- 3.6Data analysis
- 4.1Impersonal narrative-based forced-choice test
- 4.2Learners’ reported explicit knowledge of the Preterite / Imperfect contrast
Published online: 22 September 2021
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