Chapter 3. The L2 acquisition of the English present simple – present progressive distinction
This study replicates Liszka’s (2009) study of L1 French advanced L2 English speakers who show difficulties in matching meaning-to-form consistently for the present progressive in appropriate contexts, fluctuating between present progressive (‘she is dancing’) and present simple forms (‘she dances’). From these results, Liszka suggests that French L2 learners maintain a strong v[<i>u</i>Infl:], thus allowing English thematic verbs to raise, yielding an event-in-progress interpretation to be associated with the simple form. This study tests this claim, but this time with participants living in the target community. Similar to 2009, results show persistent form-meaning mismatches in progressive contexts in an on-line production task. These results are used to discuss a (permanent) syntactic deficit as the possible source of difficulty. However, the results diverge in an off-line task where performance is markedly better in this study, raising issues on the nature of L2 implicit and explicit knowledge (e.g. Ellis 2005). Furthermore, the line of enquiry is extended to the consideration of potential implications of a syntactic deficit for pragmatic processes from a Relevance Theory perspective (Sperber & Wilson 1986/1995).