Tag Archives: Second Language Acquisition

The Acquisition of English Reflexives by Speakers of Mandarin Chinese (Published)

This study offers a perspective on the interpretation of reflexive pronouns in English by Mandarin Chinese native speakers. It assumes that English reflexives are locally bound and based on structural processing in accordance with Principle A of Chomsky’s (1981) Binding Theory. However, Mandarin also long-distance binding of subjects is licit when there is no conflict with the centre of perspective within the sentence. The Test involves native speakers of Mandarin Chinese to see if their intuitions about English reflexive pronouns are in accordance with UG and if their grammars show logophoric features.   

Keywords: Second Language Acquisition, Semantics, Syntax, logophors, reflexives

An Empirical Study of Resumptive Pronouns in Arabs’ Acquisition of English Restrictive Relative Clauses (Published)

This paper investigates Arabs’ acquisition of English restrictive relative clauses with special focus on resumptive pronouns. There are two primary aims of this study: 1- to investigate resumptive pronouns in light of Keenan and Comrie’s (1977) Noun Phrase Accessibility Hierarchy, 2- to study whether Arab learners are able to acquire the gap strategy, the alternative strategy of resumptive pronouns, in English restrictive relative clauses. Regarding the first aim, we examine the hypothesis of the Noun Phrase Accessibility Hierarchy which predicts that resumptive pronouns are universal phenomena which occur increasingly in the least accessible positions on the hierarchy to facilitate second language acquisition of relative clauses and the hypothesis of L1 transfer which suggests that resumptive pronouns in Arabs’ acquisition of English restrictive relative clauses are resulted from L1 transfer. With respect to the second aim, we follow Hawkins and Chan (1997) and study Arabs’ acquisition of English restrictive relative clauses that involve island and non-island structures to test whether they are able to acquire the surface structure that involves gaps and the underlying structure that involves a wh-movement. To achieve the two aims of the study, a grammaticality judgment task was conducted to adult Arab learners of English. Results indicate that resumptive pronouns in Arabs’ acquisition of English restrictive relative clauses are resulted from L1 transfer and do not follow the predicted order of the Noun Phrase Accessibility Hierarchy. Furthermore, the results suggest that Arab learners are able to acquire the gap strategy of English restrictive relative clauses which underlies a wh-movement structure. These findings differ from Hawkins and Chan’s (1977) in which they argue for the Failed Functional Feature Hypothesis that suggests that adult L2 learners are not able to acquire the new feature that is not transferable from their L1 grammar; but the results are broadly consistent with the Full Transfer Full Access Theory (Schwartz and Sprouse, 1994) which suggests that adult L2 learners are able to acquire new features that are not available in their L1 grammar.

Keywords: Second Language Acquisition, noun phrase accessibility hierarchy, restrictive relative clause, resumptive pronoun, wh-movement

Critical Period Hypothesis and Second Language Acquisition, Contemporary Perspectives (Published)

The Critical Period Hypothesis aims to examine the significant of the age factor in second language acquisition. Over the past few decades, scholars carried out a numerous study to test the validity of the hypothesis. This article looks into the relationship between age and second language acquisition, relying on the critical period hypothesis


Keywords: Second Language Acquisition, The Critical Period Hypothesis, native-like proficiency

Impact of a Cognitively Modified Instruction on Vocabulary Acquisition of Second Language Users of Grade 2: A Study Conducted in a Private American School in Dubai (Published)

This experimental study was conducted to find the impact of modified instructional strategies on the vocabulary and reading comprehension skills of grade 2 (7 year old) students of English as second language.  The main research question was that how will the cognitively modified instruction impact the vocabulary acquisition of grade two students with Arabic as first. The research hypothesis was that if the instruction in class is designed to help students acquire vocabulary skills while the cognitive load is reduced during the learning process, it will result in improved performance (Cooper 1998). To test the hypothesis, specific instruction was tailored using principles of split-attention effect, modality effect, and redundancy effect to reduce the cognitive load. The experiment group was exposed to modified instruction for four weeks, 50 minutes lesson each day. Deviation method was used to analyse the impact of modified instruction on students’ performance. Results on performance and mental effort tests of the experimental group indicated that reduced cognitive load helped increase the performance of students in vocabulary and comprehension acquisition.  Efficiency metric showed that students in experiment group demonstrated better efficiency as compared to the control group. Lesson observations were conducted to validate the delivery of the instruction as per the design. The findings of the observation reflected a higher level of student engagement. The study concludes that modified instruction with reduced cognitive load results in increased performance of the learners of the English as a second language.  The key theories consulted were theory of evolution, cognition, schema, and cognitive load theory.

Keywords: Cognition, Cognitive Load Effects, Efficiency, Second Language Acquisition

The Challenges Faced By Instructors and Learners While Adopting Task-Based Instruction in the Learning of the English Language (Published)

This paper explores the existing challenges that hamper instructors’ and learners’ efforts while adopting task-based instruction in their contexts of learning the English language. Teaching and learning English as a second language continues to draw attention regarding the appropriate approach that instructors should adopt particularly in the case of Sudan where Arabic is the first language. A mixed method was embraced to answer research objectives of this study. In the study, questionnaires and interviews were administered to the research subjects who were recruited from the University of Khartoum using convenience sampling technique. Data from the study was analyzed using the SPSS software where descriptive and inferential statistics to test research objectives of the study. Results of the study indicated a correlation between the need to adopt the task-based instruction with 18% of the students interviewed attributing that task-based instruction approach failed to foster students’ speaking skills.

Keywords: English Language, Language Fluency, Second Language Acquisition, Task-Based Instruction Approach

Turkish Efl Learners Naming Motion Events İn English (Published)

It has been claimed that learners of Turkish and English have different patterns of thinking about motion linguistically (Özçalışkan, 2005; Talmy, 1985). For instance, Turkish speakers’ expressions of path tend to occur with path verbs, while English speakers tend to occur with satellites (adverbs or prepositions) and verbs + satellites. This study investigates the applicability of the proposed distinctions of the typology proposed by Talmy (1985) to non-metaphorical extensions of motion events, in a comparison between English (S-language) and Turkish (V-language). Results reveal some similarities and differences between Turkish learners of English and English speakers about the expression of motion events in English

Keywords: Motion Events, Second Language Acquisition, Typological Differences

An Error Analysis of a Nigerian Postgraduate Student in a United Kingdom University (Published)

This study presents an error analysis on an adult Nigerian postgraduate student in the United Kingdom. The results reveal that there are a lot of errors which associated with both Interlingua and intralingua. His second language development moves at lower rate. However, in some instances he has been using appropriate aspects of target language; that at certain points he realises inappropriate use of target language and makes self-correction. In terms of teaching implication, some errors can be corrected immediately while others can be delayed because too much negative feedback may hinder the progress of the learner. For example, the omission of /s/ sound can be ignored for immediate correction because it is often unnoticed, whereas errors associated with unmarked verb form can be corrected immediately.

Keywords: Error Analysis, Inter-language, Interlingua, Intralingua, Nigeria, Postgraduate Students, Second Language Acquisition