ERIC Number: ED240876
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Dec
Developmental Patterns of Past-Tense Acquisition among Foreign Language Learners of French.
Kaplan, Marsha A.
The patterns of acquisition of the passe compose and imperfect tenses in French among 16 adult beginning and intermediate students were studied. Based on 15-minute speech samples in which both verb tenses were elicited by seeded questions and cues for descriptive and narrative monologues, the intermediate learners had greater success with the passe compose than with the imperfect. While they were better able to produce accurate forms of the imperfect, they had greater success with the distribution of passe compose. In addition, the salient feature of all past tense errors was the almost systematic use of the present tense in an imperfect environment, evidence that learners may be more aware of the functional attributes of the passe compose than of the imperfect. This suggests that morphological and semantic complexity alone cannot account for this error pattern. Despite classroom drill and analysis, learners may be disposed to avoiding certain tenses. This implies, for curriculum development, the need for the production of tasks eliciting the imperfect, both in isolation and in narrative contexts, resulting in overall increased proficiency with the past tenses. (MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Modern Language Association (100th, New York, NY, December 27-30, 1983).