A Comparative Study of the Acquisition of French Verb Tense and Aspect in Early, Middle and Late French Immersion

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International Center for Research on Language Planning, Jan 1, 1995 - French language - 210 pages
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Questioning the notion of a sensitive period for second language acquisition, this research examined students' interlanguage development in selected classes at two grades in early, middle, and late French immersion. These classes were administered the same verb tense tests: an oral elicited imitation test and written rational cloze test. Analysis of results indicated that, in general, the aspectual distinction between the "passe compose" and "imparfait" was difficult for all groups of students. Moreover, while students in earlier starting programs significantly outperformed those in later starting programs on the oral task, two groups of students in later starting programs outperformed students in earlier starting programs on the written task. These results suggest that factors related to starting age, including instructional approaches, may have had an effect on students' performance. Interlanguage analysis resulted in a proposed general sequence of development for students' written use of the "passe compose" and "imparfait." (Contains 155 references.) (Author)

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