Temporal Expressions in Second Language Writing

The aspect theory has been offered to explain morphological markings for verbs [1], but little study has looked at how verb suffixes are marked in narrative writing for a real audience. This study looked at how native English speakers and intermediate or advanced English learners marked tense and aspect in written narratives. In a classroom, the participants and the researcher watched the silent film Modern Times, but the latter left halfway through. They were instructed to explain the second half of the film to the researcher by writing it down. The findings appear to partially corroborate the concept. The progressive form was only encountered with dynamic verbs, not with state verbs. The –ing form appeared more frequently with activity verbs containing the durative element. The occurrence of present or past tense, on the other hand, did not appear to be linked to any specific lexical feature. The tense-aspect marks appear to have a relationship with skill levels: (1) native English speakers produced tales primarily in the present tense, (2) advanced learners preferred the past tense, and (3) intermediate learners performed differently.

Author (s) Details

Ya-Chin Tsai
National Chiayi University, Taiwan.

David S. D. Tseng
National Changhua University of Education, Taiwan.

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