The Effect of Narrative Structure on Learner Use of English Tense and Aspect in an English as a Foreign Language Context

Al-Surmi, Mansoor
March 2013
Asian EFL Journal;Mar2013, Vol. 15 Issue 1, p64
Academic Journal
This paper investigates the influence of the discourse narrative structure on verbal morphology in L2 learners' interlanguage temporality system. The aim was to retest the Discourse Hypothesis predictions regarding of the influence of discourse structure on verbal morphology use in oral narrative in an English as a Foreign Language context. The discourse hypothesis predicts that L2 learners will use past forms predominantly in the foreground of the narrative while non-past forms will be used in the background. Data obtained from 36 learners was randomly chosen from a pool of pretest productions by Thai L2 learners of English. Participants were asked to narrate a strange dream after looking at six pictures. Results revealed that participants show more use of the past forms in the foreground than the background while they use more non-past forms in the background. Learners' systematic errors in tense marking could be understood in the light of the results of the present study. The paper concludes that the discourse hypothesis is supported and that English as a Foreign Language learners exhibit similar use of tense and aspect to English as a Second Language learners.


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