Interlanguage: Activity 1


Variety in verb tense/aspect

Please read the information about interlanguage before working through these activities.

Interlanguage anlysis seeks to identify patterns (some call these ‘rules’) in learners’ language, to better understand what learners do and do not know (Interlanguage Overview). Those patterns include both errors and correct production of linguistic features such as tense, aspect, article use, pronouns, gender agreement. For example, in the beginning a learner may just use masculine gender for all nouns; some will look like errors and some will look ‘correct’. The IL pattern is, all nouns are masculine, so in a way, none of the gender marking is native-like.

Take a look at the verb tense and aspect combinations used by both Henry and Raúl in the interview task. Then use the table below to check off which are used by each learner, and indicate the line numbers. The first is completed for you as an example. Then answer the question below the table. NOTE: In some cases, a speaker attempts a verb tense but uses it incorrectly.  For example, in line 24 Henry says ‘ella fue de Puerto Rico’; this is the third person preterite form, but Henry should have used the third person imperfect ‘era’. List ‘fue’ as a preterite form in the table, but with an asterisk because it is inaccurate: *fue.

  Henry (line #) Raúl (line #)
Simple Present   
(e.g. ella hace)
9: Mi primera lengua es inglés  
Present Progressive  
(e.g. estoy haciendo)
Imperfect
(e.g. ella hacía)
Conditional
(e.g. ella haría)
Preterite  
(e.g. Diego hizo)
24: Ella *fué de  Puerto Rico
Present Perfect  
(e.g. ha hecho)
Past Perfect   
(e.g. había hecho)
Past Progressive
(e.g. estaba haciendo)
Past Perfect Progressive   
(e.g. había estado haciendo)
Present Subjunctive
  (e.g. Espero que haga)
Imperfect Subjunctive   
(e.g. Si hiciera … )

What patterns do you see in the verb tense/aspect marking done by Henry and Raúl?  Is there more variety of verb tense/aspect marking on the part of one or the other learner?  Explain.

When you have finished typing your answer, click to compare your response with the Learner Language staff response.

  Henry (line #) Raúl (line #)
Simple Present   
(e.g. ella hace)
9: Mi primera lengua es inglés. 3: Uh, mi lengua materna es español.
Present Progressive  
(e.g. estoy haciendo)
-- --
Imperfect (e.g. ella hacía) 16: ...en mi escuela primera, ah primero um, mi escuela, tenía que todos las estudiantes toman clase… 8:...aprendí inglés un poco cuando estaba en...la primaria.
Conditional
(e.g. ella haría)
  47: Creo que sería bueno tomar una clase de español porque ha-, habría gente con la quien yo pudiera hablar…
Preterite/Simple Past 
(e.g. Diego hizo)
13: ...mi primer, uh tiempo con uh español *fue um en mi primer día de escuela… 8:...aprendí inglés un poco cuando estaba en...la primaria.
Present Perfect  
(e.g. ha hecho)
-- --
Past Perfect   
(e.g. había hecho)
-- --
Past Progressive
(e.g. estaba haciendo)
27-28: ...yo *estaba escribiendo más que habla- hablar…  
Past Perfect Progressive
(e.g. había estado haciendo)
-- --
Present Subjunctive 
(e.g. Espero que haga)
  37: ...no hay nadie el que pueda yo hablar.
Imperfect Subjunctive   
(e.g. Si hiciera … )
  13-14: ...pagaron dinero para que yo aprendiera inglés.

Raúl correctly uses a greater variety of different verb tense/aspect combinations than Henry, and he produces more verbs (54) than Henry (34). Though Henry and Raúl both use the simple present accurately throughout the task (24X and 25X), 71% of all of Henry’s verbs are simple present tense, compared to 46% of Raul’s. In addition to simple present, Raúl correctly uses the conditional, present subjunctive, and imperfect subjunctive; Henry doesn’t attempt any of these. While Henry uses preterite forms accurately only once, he does attempt the preterite form five times throughout the task, 4 times incorrectly. His one use of a past progressive form is incorrect.

 

CARLA Mailing List Signup Contact CARLA CARLA Events Donate to CARLA CARLA on Facebook CARLA on YouTube Twitter
Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA) • 140 University International Center • 331 - 17th Ave SE • Minneapolis, MN 55414