To be or not to be - The variable use of the verb be in the interlanguage of Hong Kong Chinese children

Nancy Lee*, Yue Yuan HUANG

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The English verb be has always been a perceived problem for Chinese ESL learners, however, few studies have been conducted with a specific focus on the interlanguage be of Chinese ESL learners. This paper examines the variable use of the English verb be of 270 Hong Kong primary school children for developmental patterns of English language acquisition versus L1 transfer phenomena. Although there are traces of transfer, the results do not suggest a strong role for L1 transfer in the use of English be but tend towards developmental aspects of omission and overgeneralisation, nonetheless a basic indication of L2 systematicity with accountable variations. A subsequent examination into the children's school textbooks reveal other significant affective variables such as input and classroom conditions for learning, which appear to interact with other learning factors to increase the variability of Chinese learners' interlanguage be.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-228
Number of pages18
JournalRELC Journal
Volume35
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2004

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language

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