A morpheme order study based on an EFL learner corpus: A focus on the Dual Mechanism
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AuthorFontana Ibáñez, Úrsula
DepartamentoUniversidad de Granada. Departamento de Filologías Inglesa y Alemana
Adquisición de segundas lenguasSecond lLanguage acquisitionAdquisición de morfologíaMorpheme order studiesDual mechanismMecanismo dualLearner corporaCorpus de aprendicesPast tense -edPasado -edCOREFL corpus
SponsorshipUniversidad de Granada. Departamento de Filologías Inglesa y Alemana. Máster en Literatura y Lingüística Inglesas, curso 2012-2013
This study aims to shed light on the acquisition of inflectional morphology in learners of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) whose first language (L1) is Spanish. Our research has been carried out creating a learner corpus in which we have collected data from a total of 79 English learners (from starter to advanced proficiency level). Firstly, we compare our results with other previous studies in order to corroborate the so-called “predictable order” for morpheme acquisition. The results in our research confirm that there does exist a natural order, as other studies have consistently shown over the four last decades (Dulay & Burt, 1973; Bailey, Madden and Krashen 1974; Pica 1983; Muñoz 2006). Krashen (1982) defines the natural order as one of the most striking discoveries in second language acquisition, which states that acquirers of a given language tend to acquire certain grammatical structures in a predictable order. We explore a set of nine grammatical English inflectional morphemes from a corpus of Spanish EFL learners. Additionally, we focus on the past tense morphology by exploring the Dual Mechanism for processing the regular vs. the irregular past. We conclude that there does exist a U-shaped learning curve for the production of irregular vs. regular past tense morphology in naturalistic corpus data, similarly to what has been previously reported in experimental studies (Pinker, 1998; Marcus & al, 1992 ). This shows that acquisition processes are not lineal but change across time. Both of these findings confirm the well-known existence of an interlanguage, a dynamic system which is developed by L2 learners during their process of L2 acquisition.