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Investigation into Language Learners' Acquisition Order Based on an Error Analysis of a Learner Corpus

By 絵美 和泉 and 均 井佐原

Abstract

In foreign language education, it is important for teachers to know their students’ acquisition order of major linguistic items in the target language. This enables them to teach these items more effectively in language classrooms. A hypothesis established in the 1970s based on studies aimed at revealing the natural sequence in second language acquisition is that major grammatical morphemes are acquired in a common order by learners across different backgrounds, such as their L1, ages, or learning environments (hypothesis 1). However, in the 1980s, studies on the acquisition order of Japanese learners of English led to a contradictory hypothesis that differences in learners’ backgrounds can cause differences in their acquisition orders (hypothesis 2). These studies revealed that the acquisition order of Japanese learners differs from the sequence supporting hypothesis 1. In this paper, we tried to see which of these two contradictory hypotheses could be supported by the acquisition order extracted from our NICT JLE (Japanese Learner English) Corpus. In this corpus, learners’ grammatical and lexical errors have been annotated manually with 47 types of error tags useful for investigating the acquisition order. The results of the analysis showed no significant correlation between the sequence supporting hypothesis 1 and that extracted from our corpus. On the other hand, there was a significant correlation between our sequence and that supporting hypothesis 2. The most significant difference between our sequence and that supporting hypothesis 1 is that ours indicates Japanese learners acquire articles and plural -s in a later stage. This might arise from L1 transfer because Japanese language does not have any relevant markers for articles and plural -s

Topics: 807
Publisher: IWLeL 2004 Program Committee
Year: 2005
OAI identifier: oai:dspace.wul.waseda.ac.jp:2065/1396

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