Presenter Information

Ryanne MikundaFollow

Abstract

The Acquisition of English Phrasal Verbs by Native Spanish Speakers

Ryanne Mikunda

Covadonga Sanchez Alvarado

This project investigates native Spanish speakers' acquisition of English phrasal verbs (PVs). A PV consists of a verb and preposition that function as a verb, e.g., pick up, think about, and go on. Prior research shows that because PVs are polysemous and idiomatic, they are difficult for learners of English as a second language to acquire (Moore Hanna, 2012; Garnier & Schmitt, 2016; Rovira Diaz, 2017). Additionally, the English concept of a PV does not exist in Spanish. To better understand how native Spanish speakers acquire PVs, this study examines whether an earlier age of first exposure to English and whether time spent in study abroad increase learners' usage of PVs. It is hypothesized that younger learners have an advantage due to the critical period hypothesis (Lenneberg, 1967) and that study abroad increases exposure to idiomatic language, including PVs. To test these hypotheses, ten corpus essays (from the Written Corpus of Learner English) by native Spanish speakers are analyzed for PV usage. These ten essays comprise two groups, early and late exposure to English, and the authors represent a range of time spent in study abroad. For comparison, five essays written by native English speakers (from the Louvain Corpus of Native English Essays) are analyzed. This study concludes that early exposure to English supports acquisition of PVs and that study abroad does not always favor acquisition. Further findings show that L2 learners of English tend to avoid PVs, using them with less variety and frequency than native English speakers.

College

College of Liberal Arts

Department

Global Studies & World Languages

Location

Eau Claire, Wisconsin

Breakout Room

20

Start Date

4-14-2021 2:00 PM

End Date

4-14-2021 2:45 PM

Presentation Type

Video (Live-Zoom)

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Apr 14th, 2:00 PM Apr 14th, 2:45 PM

The Acquisition of English Phrasal Verbs by Native Spanish Speakers

Eau Claire, Wisconsin

The Acquisition of English Phrasal Verbs by Native Spanish Speakers

Ryanne Mikunda

Covadonga Sanchez Alvarado

This project investigates native Spanish speakers' acquisition of English phrasal verbs (PVs). A PV consists of a verb and preposition that function as a verb, e.g., pick up, think about, and go on. Prior research shows that because PVs are polysemous and idiomatic, they are difficult for learners of English as a second language to acquire (Moore Hanna, 2012; Garnier & Schmitt, 2016; Rovira Diaz, 2017). Additionally, the English concept of a PV does not exist in Spanish. To better understand how native Spanish speakers acquire PVs, this study examines whether an earlier age of first exposure to English and whether time spent in study abroad increase learners' usage of PVs. It is hypothesized that younger learners have an advantage due to the critical period hypothesis (Lenneberg, 1967) and that study abroad increases exposure to idiomatic language, including PVs. To test these hypotheses, ten corpus essays (from the Written Corpus of Learner English) by native Spanish speakers are analyzed for PV usage. These ten essays comprise two groups, early and late exposure to English, and the authors represent a range of time spent in study abroad. For comparison, five essays written by native English speakers (from the Louvain Corpus of Native English Essays) are analyzed. This study concludes that early exposure to English supports acquisition of PVs and that study abroad does not always favor acquisition. Further findings show that L2 learners of English tend to avoid PVs, using them with less variety and frequency than native English speakers.