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LINGUIST List 23.339

Thu Jan 19 2012

Diss: Lang Acq/Morphology: Willie: 'Lexical Aspect and Lexical ...'

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        1.     Willie Willie , Lexical Aspect and Lexical Saliency in Acquisition of Tense-aspect Morphology among Ibibio ESL Learners


Message 1: Lexical Aspect and Lexical Saliency in Acquisition of Tense-aspect Morphology among Ibibio ESL Learners
Date: 18-Jan-2012
From: Willie Willie <williesco70yahoo.com>
Subject: Lexical Aspect and Lexical Saliency in Acquisition of Tense-aspect Morphology among Ibibio ESL Learners
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Institution: University of Georgia
Program: Linguistics Program
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2011

Author: Willie U. Willie

Dissertation Title: Lexical Aspect and Lexical Saliency in Acquisition of Tense-aspect Morphology among Ibibio ESL Learners

Linguistic Field(s): Language Acquisition
                            Morphology
                            Syntax

Subject Language(s): English (eng)

Dissertation Director:
Lioba Moshi
Lewis C Howe
Akinloye A. Ojo

Dissertation Abstract:

In the last two decades researchers in L2 acquisition research have tested
a number of hypotheses that make well defined predictions about the
developmental processes involved in L2 acquisition of tense-aspect
morphology. Such hypotheses include the Lexical Aspect Hypothesis and the
Cognitive Saliency Hypothesis. Lexical Aspect Hypothesis predicts that the
lexical semantics of the verbal predicates determines the pattern of
acquisition of verbal morphology at the early stages of interlanguage
development (Andersen and Shirai 1995; Ayoun and Salaberry 2008;
Bardovi-Harlig 2000) while the Cognitive Saliency Hypothesis predicts that
the perceptual saliency of the verbal predicates determines the pattern of
acquisition of verbal morphology (Salaberry 2000; Hawkins and Lizska 2003).
Our aim was to test the joint effects of these two hypotheses in the
interlanguage of Ibibio learners of English as a second language (ESL).
Ibibio is a language spoken in the southeastern part of Nigeria by about
five million speakers. We argue that two distinct but related cognitive
processes are involved in the development of inflectional endings in a
second language: the lexical-based learning which is operative at the lower
levels of proficiency and the rule-based learning which is operative at the
higher levels of proficiency. We elicited written narratives from 171
participants organized into six groups sampled from the primary schools,
the secondary schools and the universities using three sets of picture
stories with each set for each level of education. The participants were
asked to narrate the stories depicted in the pictures stories. The results
of the data analyses showed that lexical aspect had highly significant
effects on acquisition of the past tense-aspect morphology with a
chi-square statistics of (x2 = 196.92, df = 6, N = 1664, p = <.0001)
indicating a strong dependency of acquisition of the past tense morphology
on lexical aspect. Also, there was significant effects of lexical saliency
on acquisition of the past tense with a chi-square statistics of (x2 =
23.54, df = 2, N = 1664, p = <.0001) indicating a strong dependency of
acquisition of the past tense on lexical saliency. However, the effect of
lexical aspect was more prominent among the learners at the higher levels
of proficiency while the reverse was the case for the effects of lexical
saliency. Positive effects of instruction and effects of L1 were also reported.





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