Developmental Sequences. Grammatical Morphemes | Статья в сборнике международной научной конференции


Рубрика: 5. Общее и прикладное языкознание

Опубликовано в

IV международная научная конференция «Филология и лингвистика в современном обществе» (Москва, июнь 2016)

Дата публикации: 02.06.2016

Статья просмотрена: 145 раз

Библиографическое описание:

Холжигитова Д. Б. Developmental Sequences. Grammatical Morphemes [Текст] // Филология и лингвистика в современном обществе: материалы IV Междунар. науч. конф. (г. Москва, июнь 2016 г.). — М.: Буки-Веди, 2016. — С. 92-94. — URL (дата обращения: 18.06.2018).

Second language learners, like first language learners, pass through sequences of development: what is learned early by one is learned early by others. Among first language learners, the existence of developmental sequences may not seem surprising because their language learning is partly tied to their cognitive development and to their experiences in learning about relationships among people, events, and objects around them. But the cognitive development of adult or adolescent second language learners is much more stable, and their experiences with the language are likely to be quite different, not only from the experiences of a little child, but also different from each other. Furthermore, second language learners already know another language that has different patterns for creating sentences and word forms. In light of this, it is more remarkable that we find developmental sequences that are similar in the developing interlanguage of learners from different backgrounds and also similar to those observed in first language acquisition of the same language. Moreover, the features of the language that are heard most frequently are not always easiest to learn. For example, virtually every English sentence has one or more articles («a» or «the»), but even advanced learners have difficulty using these forms correctly in all contexts. Finally, although the learners’ first language does have an influence, many aspects of these developmental stages are similar among learners from many different first language backgrounds.

Grammatical morphemes: Some studies have examined the development of grammatical morphemes by learners of English as a second language in a variety of environments, at different ages, and from different first language backgrounds. In analyzing each learner’s speech, researches identify the OBLIGATORY CONTEXTS for each morpheme, that is, the places in a sentence where the morpheme is necessary to make the sentence grammatically correct. For example, in the sentence «Yesterday I play baseball for two hours», the adverb «yesterday» creates an obligatory context for a past tense, and «for two hours» tells us that the required form is a simple past («played») rather than a past progressive («was playing»). Similarly, «two» creates an obligatory context for a plural -s on «hours». For the analysis, obligatory contexts for each grammatical morpheme are counted separately, that is, one count for simple past, one for plural, one for third person singular present tense, and so on. After counting the number of obligatory contexts, the researcher counts the correctly supplied morphemes. The next step is to divide the number of correctly supplied morphemes by the total number of obligatory contexts to answer the question «what is the percentage accuracy for each morpheme?» An accuracy score is created for each morpheme, and these can then be ranked from the highest to lowest, giving an ACCURACY ORDER for the morphemes.

The morpheme acquisition literature raises other issues, not least of them the question of why there should be an order of acquisition for these language features. Some of the similarities observed in different studies seemed to the use of particular tasks for collecting the data, and researchers found that different tasks tended to yield different results. Nevertheless, a number of studies have revealed similarities that cannot be explained by the data collection procedure alone. As with first language acquisition, researches have not found a single simple explanation for the order. Jenifer Goldschneider and Robert De Keyser (2001) [1.p.p.51/1: 1–50.] reviewed this research and identified a number of variables that contribute to the order.

Negation: The acquisition of negative sentences by second language learners follow a path that looks nearly identical to the stages for first language acquisition. However, second language learners from different first language backgrounds behave somewhat differently within those stages. This was illustrated in John Schumann’s (1979) [2] research with Spanish speakers learning English and Henning Wode’s (1978) [3. pp. 101–17] work on German speakers learning English.

Stage 1: The negative element (usually «no» or «not») is typically placed before the verb or the element being negated. Often, it occurs as the first word in the sentence because the subject is not there.

No bicycle, I no like it. Not my friend. «No» is preferred by most learners in this early stage, perhaps it is the negative form that is easiest to hear and recognize in the speech they are exposed to.

Italian- and Spanish-speaking learners may prefer «no» because it corresponds to the negative form in Italian and Spanish (No tienen muchos libros). They may continue to use Stage 1 negation longer than other learners because of the similarity to a pattern from their first language. Even when they produce negative sentences at more advanced stages, they may also use Stage 1 negatives in longer sentences or when they are under pressure.

Stage 2: At this stage, «no» and «not» may alternate with «don’t». However, «don’t» is not marked for person, number or tense and it may even be used before modals like «can» and «should». He don’t like it. I don’t can sing.

Stage 3: Learners begin to place the negative element after auxiliary verbs like «are», «is», and «can». But at this stage, the «don’t» form is still not fully analyzed:

You can not go there. He was not happy. She don’t like rice.

At this stage, German speakers, whose first language has a structure that places the negative after the verb may generalize the auxiliary-negative pattern to verb-negative and produce sentences such as:

They come not [to] home. (Sie kommen nicht nach Hause)

Stage 4: In this stage, «do» is marked for tense, person, and number, and most interlanguage sentences appear to be just like those of the target language:

It doesn’t work. We didn’t have supper. However, some learners continue to mark tense, person, and number on both the auxiliary and the verb:

I didn’t went there.

Questions: In the 1.980s, Manfred Pienemann and his colleagues undertook studies that related the second language acquisition of German and English. Pienemann, Johnston, and Brindley (1988) [4. pp. 679–714] described a sequence in the acquisition of questions by learners of English from a variety of first language backgrounds. An adapted version of the sequence is shown in Stages 1–6 below. The examples come from French speakers who were playing a game in which they had to ask questions in order to find out which picture the other player was holding. As we saw for negation, the overall sequence is similar to the one observed in first language acquisition. And again, there are some differences that are attributable to first language influence.

Stage 1: Single words, formulae, or sentence fragments.


Four children?

Stage 2: Declarative word order, no inversion, no fronting.

It’s a monster in the right corner?

The boys throw the shoes?

Declarative order with rising intonation is common in yes/no questions in informal spoken French. French speakers may hypothesize that in English, as in French, inversion is optional.

Stage 3: Fronting: do-fronting; wh-fronting, no inversion; other fronting.

Do you have a shoes on your picture?

Where the children are playing?

Does in this picture there is four astronauts?

Is the picture has two planets on top?

French has an invariant form ‘est-ce que’ that can be placed before a declarative sentence to make a question, for example, Jean dime le cinema becomes Est-ce que jean aime le cinema?,—«[is it that] John likes movies?» French speakers may think that «do» or «does» is such an invariant form and continue to produce Stage 3 questions for some time.

Stage 4: Inversion in wh- + copula; «yes/no» questions with other auxiliaries.

Where is the sun?

Is there a fish in the water?

At Stage 4, German speakers may infer that if English uses subject-auxiliary inversion, it may also permit inversion with full verbs, as German does, leading them to produce questions such as «Like you baseball?» — Magst du baseball?

Stage 5: Inversion in wh- questions with both an auxiliary and a main verb.

How do you say proche? What’s the boy doing?

French-speaking learners may have difficulty using Stage 5 questions in which the subject is a noun rather than a pronoun. They may say (and accept as grammatical) ‘Why do you like chocolate?’ but not ‘Why do children like chocolate?’ In this, they are drawing on French, where it is often ungrammatical to use inversion with a noun subject (Pourquoi aiment les enfants le chocolaff).

Stage 6: Complex questions

Question tag: It’s better, isn’t it?

Negative question: Why can’t you go?

Embedded question: Can you tell me what the date is today?

Pienemann’s developmental sequence for questions has been the basis for a number of studies. Alison Mackey [5. p.p. 21/4:557–87] and her colleagues have done a number of these studies. These examples come from three adult Japanese learners of English as a second language who were interacting with a native speaker in a spot the differences’ task. In this task, learners have similar but not identical pictures and they have to ask questions until they work out how the picture they can see is different from the one their interlocutor has. Note that progress to a higher stage does not always mean that learners produce fewer errors.


  1. Goldschneider J. M. and R. M. De Keyser. 2001. Explaining the natural order of L2 morpheme acquisition in English. Language Learning 51/1: 1–50.
  2. Schumann J. 1979. The acquisition of English negation by speakers of Spanish: a review of the literature in R. W. Anderson. Washington DC: TESOZ.
  3. Wode H. 1978. Developmental sequences in naturalistic L2 acquisition. MA: Newbury House, pp. 101–17.
  4. M. Piennemann, M. Johnston and T. Brindley. 1988. Constructing an acquisition-based procedure for second language assessment. Oxford: Blackwell, pp.679–714.
  5. Mackey A. 1999. Input, interaction and second language development. Studies in SZA 21/4:557–87.
Основные термины (генерируются автоматически): ACCURACY, CONTEXTS, OBLIGATORY, ORDER, SZA, TESOZ.


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