Chapter 8. The L2 acquisition of the present in the Japanese tense-aspect system
Although the research on the acquisition of tense-aspect markers has been extensively pursued since the 1970s, the focus of these studies has mostly been on particular grammatical markers (such as past tense markers, perfective aspect markers, progressive aspect markers), and they have tended to ignore how the full tense-aspect system, including the nonpast/present form, is acquired. This chapter investigates the development of the nonpast/present form -(<i>r</i>)<i>u</i> in Japanese among L2 learners, together with other aspectual forms – namely past -<i>ta</i> and imperfective -<i>te i-</i>(<i>ru</i>). The present study analyzes a longitudinal conversational corpus (C-JAS) of six learners of Japanese (native speakers of Korean and Chinese). The results indicate that while the production of the past tense marker <i>-ta</i> is aligned with the predictions set by the tripartite system hypothesis (Andersen & Shirai 1994), the nonpast/present form -(<i>r</i>)<i>u</i> does not. Furthermore, the results of the imperfective -<i>te i-</i>(<i>ru</i>) shows productivity in both resultative and progressive meanings, which goes against the universal prediction. It is suggested that the predictions set by universal hypotheses based on the tripartite system are not applicable to the acquisition of the Japanese tense-aspect system.