Tense-Aspect Morphology in the Interlanguage of Learners of English as a Second Language (ESL) by Willie U. Willie

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This paper explores the pattern of acquisition and distribution of tense-aspect morphology by L2 learners. We tested the predictions of the Aspect Hypothesis and Cognitive Saliency Hypothesis on a set of data elicited from nine ESL learners with Chinese Ll using a set of cloze test. Aspect Hypothesis predicts that past tense-aspect
verbal morphology emerges first on telic predicates before atelic predicates in the interlanguage of L2 learners irrespective of the variation in their L1 while Cognitive Saliency Hypothesis predicts that irregular verbs are marked with past tense-aspect verbal morphology before regular verbs. The analyses of the data show that the pattern of acquisition and distribution of past tense-aspect verbal morphology by this group of ESL learners is not determined by either the lexical aspectual class of the verbs or the perceptual saliency of the verbal predicates.

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