Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.639788
Title: Arabic and Chinese learners' production, perception and processing of past tense and verbal agreement morphology in L2 English
Author: Kahoul, Walid
ISNI:       0000 0004 5365 3590
Awarding Body: University of Newcastle Upon Tyne
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2014
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Abstract:
This thesis is an attempt to locate the source of the difficulties experienced by adult second language (L2) learners of English in the production of past tense and verbal agreement morphology, observed as an alternation between the inflected and stem forms of verbs in contexts where only the former is accepted in target grammars. To this end, current competing syntactic, non-syntactic and phonological accounts of the phenomenon are tested against production, perception and processing data. Production was tested by a sentence elicited imitation task, which comprised of 50 aural sentences creating obligatory contexts for the properties under study. Participants were asked to repeat the sentences one by one and their response was recorded. Perception and processing were tested by a computerised picture-choice task, which consisted of 88 picture-sentence trials. Participants were asked to choose one picture, the choice of which depended on their perception of verbal morphology. Picture choice response, reaction times and eye movements were recorded in this task. Thirty-seven L1 speakers of Chinese and thirty-four L1 speakers of Arabic, who were matched in L2 proficiency at low, mid and high levels, in addition to a control group of ten native speakers of English participated in the study. The results of the production and perception studies similarly showed that while Chinese participants produced and perceived the morphology variably at all levels, Arab participants did so only at low and mid levels, overcoming variability at the highest proficiency level. Neither production nor perception data demonstrated phonological effects. Results from the processing study revealed that both language groups processed the morphology similarly at low and mid levels but they differed at the high level with only Arab participants’ data showing evidence for developing automatic competence. These findings strongly suggest that morphological variability is caused by absence of syntactic representations which are built up incrementally with rising proficiency supporting structure building accounts of L2 acquisition.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.639788  DOI: Not available
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