The effect of lexical aspect on the use of English past marking by Cantonese ESL learners and its pedagogical implications

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapters

Abstract

This chapter reports the findings of a study that tested whether lexical aspect of the predicate of a sentence affects the supply of English past marking by native Cantonese-speaking learners of English who had received English education for more than 12 years. The Aspect Hypothesis predicts that past morphology is first used with telic predicates (e.g. accomplishments and achievements), and later spreads to atelic predicates (e.g. activities and statives). The results from a grammaticality judgment task and a cloze test showed that the participants were more likely to use past morphology when the predicate was telic than when it was atelic, suggesting that lexical aspect still affects the supply of English past marking by late-stage learners. These findings deviate from the predictions of the Aspect Hypothesis, suggesting that, even after a long period of English instruction, the effect of lexical aspect is still visible. This chapter also discusses the potential advantages of pedagogical approaches such as Processing Instruction and Cognitive-Grammar-inspired instruction over traditional grammar explanation in mitigating the effect of lexical aspect. Copyright © 2022 Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChallenges encountered by Chinese ESL learners: Problems and solutions from complementary perspectives
EditorsMable CHAN, Alessandro G. BENATI
Place of PublicationSingapore
PublisherSpringer
Pages87–108
ISBN (Electronic)9789811653322
ISBN (Print)9789811653315
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Citation

Luk, Z. P.-S. (2022). The effect of lexical aspect on the use of English past marking by Cantonese ESL learners and its pedagogical implications. In M. Chan & A. G. Benati (Eds.), Challenges encountered by Chinese ESL learners: Problems and solutions from complementary perspectives (pp. 87–108). Singapore: Springer.

Keywords

  • Cantonese
  • Lexical aspect
  • Past tense
  • Telicity

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