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Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

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Dissertation Information

Title: The Effects of Multiple Linguistic Factors on the Simple Past Use in English Interlanguage Add Dissertation
Author: Cai Jinting Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Luoyang University of Foreign Languages, Applied Linguistics
Completed in: 2002
Linguistic Subfield(s): Language Acquisition;
Subject Language(s): English
Director(s): Pan Yongliang

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.