Interlanguage: Activity 2

Patterns in use of case markers

Whereas Error Analysis Activity 3 seeks to find and classify erroneous uses of case markers, here we pay attention to patterns and rules that can explain the learners’ use of case markers.

Watch Anna B and Sophia’s Retell tasks and look at the transcripts below. On the printed transcripts, circle the case markers, especially nominative (subject) and accusative (object) case markers that both learners use. Describe any patterns that you observe. What rule(s) do the learners seem to use to produce the patterns that you observe? What are possible reasons for such patterns?

Anna B Retell

Transcript (PDF)

Sophia Retell

Transcript (PDF)

Please type your answers to the questions in the box below.

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

Anna B seems to use nominative and accusative case markers quite correctly and consistently in the Retell task. She marks all accusative case markers and most nominative case markers except in the following sentences.

(1) 뒤에 있는 아저씨 어 어 정찰에 어 전화했어요. (line 8-9)
(2) 소녀 어 어 아직 어 움직하지 어 할 수 없어요. (line 10-11)
(3) 어머니 집에 어 나와서 더 화 났어요.  (line 13)
(4) 소녀 많이 울었어요. (line 13-14)
Sentences (1), (2), and (4) without nominative case markers are considered to be correct because the omission of nominative case markers in such contexts is common in spoken Korean. Sentence (3) where the subject noun ‘어머니’ is used without a case marker preceding a noun ‘집’ can be interpreted more than one way. Considering that Anna B uses accusative markers in place of nominative case markers in the Narrative task that she performed before the Question and Retell tasks, we think Anna B is developing the use of nominative case markers in her speech.

In contrast, Sophia does not use accusative case markers in her speech except in line 12 where she uses an accusative case marker erroneously in place of a locative case marker.

        (5) 아파트를 못 가요. (line 12)

Sentence (5) is the only use of an accusative case marker in any of Sophia’s six communicative tasks. Sophia also sometimes omits nominative case markers. However, she does not omit both nominative and accusative case markers at the same time, so her frequent omission of case markers does not result in ambiguous sentences. Overall, Sophia seems to adopt a colloquial-sounding general omission of case markers in her speech. This might be due to her two-year stay in Korea where she was exposed to colloquial Korean.


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