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Title: The role of lexical aspect in the acquisition of English past tense by Saudi EFL learners
Author: Shami, Joman Hassan
ISNI:       0000 0004 2724 6190
Awarding Body: Lancaster University
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2010
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The study investigates the role of lexical aspect in the acquisition (use and development) of the simple past, past progressive and present tenses by a group of Saudi EFL learners, adopting the Aspect Hypothesis as a general framework. For the simple past tense, data were elicited using a fill-in-the-gap test (Gap-Fill Past), personal narration (Free-writing), story narration (Tom and Jerry) as well as a Two- Option Multiple Choice Task. The results stemming from the different tasks offer evidence both for and against the Aspect Hypothesis, which claims that use of the perfective past spreads from achievements to accomplishments to activities and finally to states. With regard to Gap-Fill Past, the results show that the use of the simple past was consistent with the predictions of the Aspect Hypothesis, except with the lexical aspectual class of activities, which showed the least use of the simple past. On the other hand, results from the Free-writing and Tom and Jerry tasks show that the participants used the past tense best with state predicates which provides counterevidence to the claims of the Aspect Hypothesis regarding the distribution of perfective past verbal morphology. For the other two tenses, only the fill-in-the-gap tests and Two-Option Multiple Choice Task were used. The results of the past progressive support the Aspect Hypothesis in that the use of the progressive is mostly associated with activities and then with accomplishments. The semantic and structural complexities of the present perfect had a stronger effect on the use of the tense than the lexical aspect of the predicates. The Analysis of the alternative forms for the three tenses gave evidence for the Prototypical Hypothesis regarding the associations between verbal morphology and lexical aspect. It was observed that the present form was used mostly with states and the progressive with activities. It was also noticed that the past and base forms were used mostly with accomplishments and achievements. Finally, it was observed that the learners' interlanguage was influenced by their first language, Arabic. The similarity in form but differences in scope between the two languages has an effect of the learners' use of the different form.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available