LINGUIST List 15.482

Thu Feb 5 2004

Diss: Lang Acquisition: Jinting: 'The Effects...'

Editor for this issue: Takako Matsui <>


  1. caiyyx, The Effects of Multiple Linguistic Factors...

Message 1: The Effects of Multiple Linguistic Factors...

Date: Wed, 4 Feb 2004 20:34:49 -0500 (EST)
From: caiyyx <>
Subject: The Effects of Multiple Linguistic Factors...

Institution: Luoyang University of Foreign Languages
Program: applied linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2002

Author: Cai Jinting

Dissertation Title: The Effects of Multiple Linguistic Factors on the
Simple Past Use in English Interlanguage

Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition

Subject Language: English (code: ENG)

Dissertation Director 1: Pan Yongliang

Dissertation Abstract:

This study aims to investigate the effects of several linguistic
factors on the simple past use in English interlanguage of
Chinese-speaking learners. In a corpus-based preliminary study,
simple past was identified as the topic of the main study, as it had
both higer frequency and higher error rate. The linguistic factors
involved in the main study comprise five intralingual factors (verb
salience, lexical aspect, temporal adverbials, clause types and
narrative structure) and one interlingual factor (the aspect marker
"le"). These factors have been respectively found to affect
tense/aspect development in various univariate studies, but this is
the first study that incorporates all these factors in one project and
explores both their individual effects and interactive effects on the
simple past use based on the English data from college students in
China. The theoretical framework adopted in this study is called
interlanguage variation model. It is proposed by the present author
for variation studies in SLA to avoid the limitations of other models.

This study addresses six research questions: (1) Is the simple past
variation systematic with regard to some of those intralingual
factors? (2) What individual effects do those intralingual factors
exert on the simple past use? (3) What interactive effects do those
intrlingual factors exert on the simple past use? (4)Is the simple
past varation systematic with regard to the Chinese aspect marker
"le"? (5)What effects does the aspect marker "le" exert on the simple
past use? (6) Does the aspect marker "le" interact with the
intralingual factors?

The interlanguage data analyzed consisted of 120 English narrative
compostions together with their Chinese versions produced by native
Chinese speakers learning English (high-intermediate level) with a
formal instructional background in P. R. China. As for the dependent
variable, all kinds of tense/aspect forms in the obligatory contexts
for simple past were coded so that the proportions of the appropriate
simple past use and the simple past marking (all simple past forms
including targetlike and non-targetlike forms) were computed. As for
the independent variables, the six linguistic factors were coded
following reliable classifications. The statistical methods such as
Chi-square test, Crosstabs, T-test, ANOVA, loglinear analysis, Z-test
were utilized during data processing and results presentation, and so
were bar graphs and pie graphs.

Corresponding to the research questions, this study has obtained the
following findings: 

(1) The simple past variation was found to be systematic with regard
to such factors as verb salience, lexical aspect, temporal adverbials
and narrative structure, but free with clause types.

(2) Except for clause types, all the other four intralingual factors
have significant effects on the simple past use (p<.05).

(3) The loglinear analysis reveals that there are both two-way and
three-way interactions among verb salience, lexical aspect and
narrative structure with regard to the simple past use. In other
words, every two and all the three of these factors have significant
interactive effects on the simple past use. Comparatively speaking,
narrative structure has stronger influence than lexical aspect that is
stronger than verb salience.

(4) The simple past variation is systematic not only with regard to
the existence of the aspect marker "le", but also when this
interlingual factor interacts respectively with verb salience,
temporal adverbials and narrative structure.

(5) The presence of the aspect marker "le" was found to faciliatate
the simple past use significantly(p<.05). (6) The aspect marker
"le" interacts with three intralingual factors, namely verb salience,
temporal adverbials, and narrative structure, but does not with
lexical aspect.
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