The Inter-Linguistic and the Cross-Linguistic Influence on the Acquisition of L2 (English) Linguistic Items: A Case Study in the Context of ALEs as Postgraduate Learners

Anwar Mourssi


This paper represents an empirical study investigatingone of the most common issues namely the inter-linguistic and the cross-linguistic influence of the L1 in learning L2 grammar in general, and specifically the acquisition of the simple past tensein the context of Arab Learners of English (ALEs) as postgraduate learners. This study is an extension to a previous one which was run on undergraduate learners of English (Mourssi, 2013c). The researcher believes that the simple past tense forms produced by learners sometimes appear to have originated in L1, sometimes in L2, and sometimes in L1 and L2 at the same time. This case study was conducted on 30 Arab Learners of English (ALEs) which lasted thirteen weeks. A detailed analysis was made on the simple past tense forms in 90 written texts produced by ALEs enrolled in foundation course Level Two. Written texts were collected from each subject at three stages in the experiment (after the first week, after six weeks and after twelve weeks). Quantitative and qualitative analyses show the cross-linguistic influence of L1 (Arabic) and Inter-linguistic influence of the target languagein acquiring the linguistic items of L2 (English) in general and in acquiring the simple past in particular.

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