A study of morpheme order acquisition in an EFL corpus of L1 Spanish – L2 English: some pedagogical implications
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AutorDemarta Dabove, Agustina
DepartamentoUniversidad de Granada. Departamento de Filologías Inglesa y Alemana
Morpheme order studiesSecond language acquisitionLearner corporaNatural order hypothesisCorpus de aprendicesAprendizaje del inglés como segunda lenguaAdquisición de morfologíaEFL
PatrocinadorUniv. Granada. Departamento de Filologías Inglesa y Alemana. Máster Universitario de Educación Secundaria Obligatoria y Bachillerato, Formación Profesional y Enseñanza de Idiomas
If we want to know what Second Language Acquisition is, we have to go back in time and locate ourselves in the 70s when Brown (1973) suggested that native speakers acquire grammatical morphemes in a specific order. Another example of this kind of studies is the one conducted by Bailey, Madden and Krashen in 1974. This study also deals with the same topic, that is, the morpheme order acquisition. It is important to highlight that, despite the fact that these studies were criticized because of their limitations due to the methodology used or the limited number of subjects, they provided important evidence that there is a given sequence in the acquisition of grammatical morphemes. Nowadays, recent MOS studies (see Tono, 2000; Kwon, 2005) have been carried out taking into account these limitations that the first MO studies had. Tono (2000) could be seen as a useful example of this kind of studies because it focuses on how Japanese students acquire grammatical morphemes using a new methodology which consists of the creation of a learner corpus and its subsequent analysis. Following Tono’s example we have decided to conduct a MO study using a learner corpus based on the language produced by Spanish EFL students. The grammatical morphemes we analyzed were past regular -ed, past irregular, third person singular -s, present progressive –ing, copula be, auxiliary be, plural, articles and possessive –s. This morphemes’ choice is influenced by Krashen’s (1977) study “The Monitor Model” in which Krashen studies adult second language performance. The completion of the present study relied on a process which started with the study of previous MOS. Once we set the topic, we decided to find out if our EFL students and the subjects of previously conducted MO studies (Brown 1973, Bailey, Madden and Krashen 1974; Dulay and Burt (1974). Therefore, this study consists of the collection of data in two state high schools in Jaen and Granada, the subsequent compilation of a Learner Corpus and its analysis and interpretation. In this study several tools have been used. We believe that the UAM Corpus Tool deserves a special reference since it is a free software program designed for the annotation of text corpora and for data analysis. This instrument was used to tag, analyze and study the results of our Corpus project. This dissertation has been organized in 6 main chapters: in the first chapter, i.e., the introduction, we present the aims of this study. The second chapter, Second Language Acquisition and Language Corpora, provides a review of the relevant studies on morpheme acquisition and language corpus. This chapter consists of three sub-sections: the morpheme, relevant studies, language corpora and learner corpora. In chapter 3, the Hypotheses research questions are stated. Chapter 4 consists of the description of the methodology used. In this regard we make reference to the participants, the materials, the procedure and the data coding and analysis. In chapter 5 we present the general and the specific results of our study regarding our subjects’ accuracy rates in the use of the nine morphemes at issue. We should mention that in the analysis of our data we have taken into account other variables such as the students’ age and their proficiency level, in this chapter we can also find the discussion and interpretation of our main findings. Finally, in chapter 6 the reader can find a conclusion in terms of the objectives, the positive points and the limitations of this study. The aims of this dissertation are: - To find out if there are similarities between our participants´ morpheme acquisition order and the one that has been suggested by scholars such as Bailey, Madden & Krashen (1974) or Brown (1973) despite the different scoring methods used. - The collection and creation of an English learner corpus by Spanish EFL students. - To find the pedagogical implications that a specific morpheme acquisition order can imply. That is to say, I would like to know if Spanish EFL students follow a certain sequence when they acquire the aforementioned nine morphemes in order to take it into account when we teach English.