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Title: The 'motionisation' of verbs : a contrastive study of thinking-for-speaking in English and Tunisian Arabic
Author: Louhichi, Imed
ISNI:       0000 0004 5365 9490
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis investigates the idea that the grammatical system of a language influences aspects of thought patterns and communicative behaviour. It examines the linguistic conceptualisation of motion events in English and Tunisian Arabic (TA) in order to contribute to current debates in Second Language Acquisition (SLA) research and its associated field of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). The main research questions are whether in learning a typologically different language, the conceptualisation acquired through first languages (L1) interferes with the learning of the conceptualisation inherent in a second language (L2). In order to address these questions, I adopt three analytical frameworks: a grammatical framework based on Talmy's (1985, 2000) binary distinction between verb-framed and satellite-framed languages, a discourse framework based on Berman and Slobin's (1994) application of Talmy's typology to verbal behaviour; and a ‘Whorfian' framework based on Slobin's (1987, 1996b) Thinking-for-Speaking' (TfS) hypothesis. A fundamental claim of the TfS hypothesis is that the grammar of a language and the discourse preferences of its speakers play a fundamental role in shaping linguistic thinking. From this follows the prediction that L1-based conceptualisation resists change when a typologically different L2 is learnt in adulthood. A comparison of the TfS behaviours of speakers of L1-English (L1-Eng), L1-TA, and ‘advanced' L2-English (L2-Eng) whose L1 is TA support this prediction. Based on the notion of ‘motionisation' – a term I coin in order to describe a conceptual strategy L1 speakers of English use when TfS about events – I show that linguistic habits are not only decisive in how the same TfS content is expressed (e.g. run from the jar versus run out of the jar), but more importantly, it is decisive in situations where speakers are ‘forced' to pick out different aspects of the same reality for TfS purposes. The findings reported here have implications for L2 English learners, in general, and, in particular, for learners of English whose L1 may be characterised as a verb-framed language.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: P0101 Language. Linguistic theory. Comparative grammar