Volume 21, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0155-0640
  • E-ISSN: 1833-7139
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A “concept-oriented” analysis of past time reference in the English of two French learners provides insight into the communicative strategies employed by advanced language learners. Although these learners have a limited command of past tense morphology, they nevertheless manage to establish past time reference in conversational discourse, utilising alternatives to morphological marking such as the use of adverbial phrases, implicit framing established by prior discourse, or “nil” framing, relying on assumed shared knowledge or the interlocutor’s interpretive skills. The two varieties of “learner English” differ significantly: one features a substantially higher number of morphologically marked verbs, with increasing explicitness in temporal framing; the other makes much greater use of implicit framing, with a substantial and unexpected increase in reliance on discourse-based frames. Neither learner shows evidence of linear or stage-wise development which would correspond to “rule-governed” acquisition of new knowledge.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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