Acquisition of tense and aspect by Persian learners of English as a second language
This dissertation is a cross-sectional study of the acquisition of tense and aspect by 45 Persian speakers as the experimental group and 15 native English speaking children as the control group. This study specifically investigates the hypothesis of Primacy of Aspect (POA) that claims there is; (1) a strong association of past/perfective morpheme with achievement and accomplishment verbs, (2) a strong association of progressive morpheme with activity verbs, (3) no overextension of progressive inflection to stative verbs, and (4) strong association of the present morpheme '-s' with stative verbs. The study also argues for the semantic implications of the present data for the Distributional Bias Hypothesis (Andersen 1990), that the distinction of verb type in the input is skewed so as to create the acquisitional pattern found in studies of the POA in language acquisition, and for the Language Bioprogram (Bickerton 1981), that aspectual values are the knowledge a child is born with as the sources of the POA in SLA. The study also examines the syntactic implications of the data for the 'initial state' hypotheses in SLA: The Minimal Trees Hypothesis (Vainikka & Young-Scholten 1994, 1996a, 1996b), The Full Transfer/Full Access hypothesis (Schwartz & Sprouse 1996) and The Weak Parametric Transfer (Valueless Features) Hypothesis (Eubank 1993/94, 1996). The results supported the findings of the POA and the Minimal Trees Hypothesis.