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The Acquisition Problem of English Present Perfect to Korean Adult Learners of English: L1 Transfer matters


Jinhee Han & Sungshim Hong (Chungnam National University)


Han, Jinhee & Hong, Sungshim. 2015. The Acquisition Problem of English Present Perfect to Korean Adult Learners of English: L1 Transfer matters. English Language and Linguistics 21.3, 141-164. The purpose of the current study is to explore the failed attainment of English Present Perfect as opposed to English Simple Past by Korean speaking Learners of English. We hypothesize that the (relatively) underspecified nature of Tense/Aspect morphology of Korean as opposed to English provides the negative transfer, yielding the high inaccuracy in their Interlanguage. This hypothesis, Interlingual Feature-Mismatch Hypothesis (IFMH), has been tested on 106 Korean adult learners of English, resulting that Korean L1ers significantly and frequently (mis)uses English Simple Past when English Present Perfect is expected as Yoshimura, Nakayama, Fujimori, and Sawasaki (2010, 2014) have found in Japanese speakers of English. In the process of demonstrating and discussing our experiment which is a frequency distribution tabling method, we report that English Present Perfect is difficult not only for Korean L1ers to acquire but also for Turkish speakers of English, French speakers of English, Portuguese speakers of English, and of course Japanese speakers of English (Rocha 2004, Durich 2005, Payre-Ficout, Brissaud and Chevrot 2009, Lim 2010, Bulut 2011). The ramification of this study is that the acquisition of Aspect may not render empirical support to Modular approaches (Montrul 1997, 2000).


Key words: L1 transfer, Aspect morphology, negative transfer, isomorphism between Tense-Aspect, Modular approach, IFMH

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