‘It starts to explode.’ Phasal segmentation of contextualised events in L2 English

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


En route to acquiring novel principles of temporal information organisation in the target language, second language (L2) learners exhibit a capacity to build temporal constructions of their own, which are not necessarily fixed in the principles of either their source or their target language system. This study surveys hitherto unattested interlanguage phenomena found in the phasal segmentation patterns of two intermediate-level learner groups with unrelated source languages, and identifies analogies of shared developmental patterns. Film verbalisations and acceptability judgements (AJ) were used to elicit responses from Czech and Hungarian intermediate learners of English, and their analyses yielded a threefold benefit. They generated representative degrees of granularity for each group who experiment with new segmentation techniques. They also showed that the ways in which learners partition events in production (pronounced digression from the target) do not directly replicate patterns in acceptability judgements (closer approximation to the target). And thirdly, overlaps and contrasts between learner and native control speaker preferences for phasal partitioning varied in close relation to specific aspectual properties inherent to the verbs used. The combination of production features and acceptability judgements from L2 groups with distant L1s provides an informative mosaic of how learners at intermediate L2 proficiency strive for an optimal fit when combining available linguistic elements to express specific event phases.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTense-Aspect-Modality in a Second Language: Contemporary perspectives
EditorsMartin Howard, Pascale Leclercq
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
Number of pages37
ISBN (Electronic)9789027266491
ISBN (Print)9789027241924
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2016

Publication series

NameStudies in Bilingualism

Bibliographical note

© 2016, John Benjamins Publishing Company.This is an author-produced version of the published chapter. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details.

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