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Grammatical Judgment

Grammatical test, which was conducted in order to determine the difficulties, faced by Russian students in forming Past Perfect tenses in English. The choice between imperfect and simple past perfect tense in a less formal register is determined by the interaction of factors that affect narrative structure, the appearance and semantics of the verb.

This aspectual interpretation is in turn influenced by the inherent semantics verbs and verbs the distinction between static and dynamic verbs. The results of overall answers are shown below in terms of the percentage.



Figure 1: Grammatical Tense

Overall, the results indicate that students tended to confuse past perfect with past simple. Students were most likely to reject past perfect grammar sentence structure as according to their mate-linguistic knowledge.


Scrambled questions


This task was conducted in form of group; each group of two students completed the task efficiently, forming several questions from the words in each envelope. This activity clearly showed that the Russian students do have an understanding of English. The overall outcome can be seen in the figure below. It shows that 82% of the respondents correctly identified the word order pattern and remainder 18% respondents were unable to identify it.



Figure 2: Word Order Pattern



Twenty participants were interviewed individually, the interviews purpose was to determine the (meta-linguistic knowledge) and the difficulties faced by Russian student in forming Past Perfect tenses in English. I used questions from the scrambled form task, to focus sentences they have already processed.

In the first segment, the students were given 2 random sentences from scrambled question task and asked to explain the structure of each sentence. Majority of the respondents were able to explain sentence structure while some couple of them were struggled. From the second part of the interview, only 21% of the students both acknowledged the presence of a difference and explained the grammatical norms used for past perfect. This can be explained in storage in sensory memory and short-term memory generally has a strictly limited capacity and duration. In the final part, students provided an explanation, showing sensitivity to the relative frequency of inversion in the two languages. This was undertaken to explore the relationship between learners’ metalinguistic awareness – used as their ability to acknowledge and explain differences between Russian and English grammar and their success in judging or constructing correct past perfect tense in English.

Overall, there was a significant positive correlation between students’ awareness of and ability to explain differences between L1 and L2 grammar patterns. Although I cannot be surely stated that awareness led to more accurate performance, it is obvious that the ability to explain the contrast between the L2 and L1 systems was related to greater accuracy in forming correct past perfect in English.




In the previous research of Ahlem and etc. the have designed three tasks in order to rest the francophone ESL learners. Af On the grammaticality judgment task, questions in which the subject was a pronoun were judged more accurately than questions in which the subject was a noun. An initial analysis of the responses on the grammaticality judgment task confirmed that students used all response options. This suggests that their choices reflected interlanguage patterns rather than a response bias and thus served to validate the use of a grammaticality judgment tool with these young learners. Overall, the results indicate that students tended to reject inversion with noun subjects even after they had begun to accept it more with pronoun subjects.

The scrambled questions task was done in pairs. Each pair of students was given eight envelopes containing words on individual cards. Four sets of cards contained words that could be used to form yes/no questions and four included Wh– words. The words were written in capital letters to avoid giving clues about word order. Each envelope contained extra auxiliary verbs in order to see if students would produce questions with more than one auxiliary (e.g. Do the children can . . . ) However, students were told that they did not need to use all the words in the envelope to form a question. They were asked to perform the following: (1) form as many questions as they could with the words in each envelope; (2) discuss and explain their answers to each other while working and (3) write down the questions they formed. Each student wrote the questions on a separate sheet. Students’ conversation was tape-recorded and transcribed. Again, all items used third-person subjects. Each pair of students successfully completed the task, usually forming several questions from the words in each envelope. The word order in more than two thirds of the questions the students created reflected two main patterns: declarative word order or ‘fronting’ (placing a Wh– word or auxiliary [usually ‘do ‘or ‘does’] at the beginning of a declarative sentence).

Twenty-nine of the participants were interviewed individually. The interview comprised four different parts. In the first part, the interviewer asked the students to give a definition or French translation of isolated words presented one at a time. Eight of these words were related to question formation, e.g. what, do and does. The remaining four served as distracters (e.g. pronouns he and she). In the second part, the interviewer selected a few items from each student’s own grammaticality judgment task and asked for an explanation of his/her judgments. In the third part, students were asked if there were any differences between French and English with respect to question formation. If they answered that there were differences, they were asked to explain those differences. Finally, the interviewer chose some of the questions each student had written on the scrambled questions task and asked him/her to translate them into French. Given the students’ tendency to place the auxiliaries ‘do’ and ‘does’ at the beginning of declarative sentences to form questions in the scrambled questions task, we chose to focus on these two auxiliaries while analyzing the interview data. Two things are noteworthy in this response. First, the student specifies that one can invert the verb and the pronoun, rather than the subject. Second, he was totally justified in saying that intonation could be used in French and English to ask questions, suggesting an understanding of similarities between the two languages at the informal level. Given that we were in a formal context – i.e. in an evaluation mode that was mostly based on written input in the grammaticality judgment task or the scrambled questions task, this final comment is further evidence that he had only partial knowledge of the differences between French and English questions.

Overall analysis according to these three categories showed that 31% of the students believed that there were no differences between French and English or that the two question systems were different but could not explain the differences. Forty-eight percent said that the two systems were different and provided partial explanations. Only 21% of the students both acknowledged the presence of a difference and explained what those differences were.

The aim of this research was to replicate study of Ahlems’ and etc. and carry out similar study in order to determine how L1 knowledge (meta-linguistic knowledge) will affect in forming Past Perfect tenses in English (grammar performance). This target of that study was Russian students learning English as a secondary language. The study was carried out to focus on young Russian-speaking ESL students in their ability to contract the past perfect sentences in English, and to define whether these students were aware of this influence. The results indicate that participants tended to reject inversion with noun subjects even after they had begun to accept it more with pronoun subjects.

The first research question was answered by the results from the grammaticality judgement task and the scrambled questions task, which are consistent with previous research: the participants’ performance was highly controlled by their L1 abilities. In conformity with their L1, intensive ESL students tended to do the following: (1) in most cases, perfective sentence structure with imperfective; (2) translate have/has/had; (3) treat inversion as optional as in Ahlem’s and etc. research.

The results of an interview with the task to answer the second research question, most students were unable to rules that depend on their L1, which seemed to falsehood in their efforts to address the underlying grammar and tense problem. In fact, only 30% of students in this study were able to distinguish the differences between Russian and English past perfect usage. Students used to adapt simple past tense usage into English as in Russian the rules are the same for both perfective and imperfective.

The third study question about the relationship "between the meta-linguistic awareness and performance focused on L2 tasks. These results indicate that the two variables tend to work in tandem. This means that students who understand the difference between their Ll and L2 past tense system better able to judge correctly and to build up past perfect sentences in English than students who do not have such knowledge.

Future tasks should be tested for it, perhaps replacing the SVO faced with questions for students in this study, often faced with production elements in the coded challenge questions. In the present study, students who did not explain the corresponding contrasts Ll/L2 not as good as their colleagues, showed great confidence, and this occurred despite the problem, provided enough time to think about the form, and we can say that in order to emphasize the shape and accuracy. This means that students who do not know the difference between L1 and L2 rules, because they either cannot understand it, is because no one is directing their attention to it, or they are unable to recognize the right questions in order to produce even in structured contexts. If the students understand the difference Ll/L2 better than those who do not perform, we can conclude that this knowledge can help irregular inter-language fossilization.

The results of this study indicate the two things: First, students need help to identify problematic relationship between LI and L2 linguistic characteristics. Such training is not required to print all the grammatical features, and the number of such functions, of course, will vary depending on the relative similarity of L1 and L2. Secondly, should be brought before a court, a condition that can benefit, so that students from the explicit knowledge that if their attention primarily to provide meaning. It has been suggested that this may contribute to the desired transition (DeKeyser, 1998, 2005), provided that the students understand what they practice, and that they practice what is learned, not explicitly express their own meanings. Intensive communication ESL, where the study was conducted, most likely in favour of such a transition, as students are constantly clear entry and, more importantly, must be subjected to the language in relations with each other and with the teacher to produce. To hear the high frequency capabilities and structures to use it to express the previously expected to contrastive Ll/L2 information during the interaction tasks that facilitates the transition from the explicit to the automated systems.

Despite the teachers' trials on education, to teach them French-speaking ESL students showed more limitations in their ability to judge correctly and to build English questions, at least in part because the implicit rules, which they brought with them the first in their language. This pattern of results is what led Spada, Lightbown, and White (2005) explicitly study the effect of contrast Ll/L2 information about the development of educational inquiry (and third person possessive determiners) with francophone ESL learners. Their results do not provide clear support for the benefits Ll/L2. On the other hand, this was perhaps because sufficiently comparative study was not presented. Information proposals have been made to improve the pressure in order to emphasize the subject-verb inversion in English French and opposed without any explanation Ll/L2. During the research studies, it appears that it will be important to know information for students and that this information can best be explicitly provided.

Finally, answering the last research question, the performances of learners are the result of active work understanding, interpretation and reconstruction of meaning. As we just said, we must expect that this representation learner may vary from one to another. We must also keep jump to conclusions about the nature of representations of learner’s verbalizations from their rules of grammar. Even in cases where they may appear satisfactory, there is no evidence that they cover the same semantic and pragmatic reality for learners and sometimes for teachers. This finding confirms previous studies have reported a positive association between meta-linguistic knowledge and L2 performance (Ahlem and etc, 2010; Hu, 1999; Hultstijn & Hultstijn, 1984; Sorace, 1985) and stands in contrast to other studies on these relationships (Green & Hecht, 1992; Seliger, 1979).


Date: 2016-01-05; view: 2006

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