The Colloquial Preterit

Language Variation and the ESL Classroom
  • Helaine W. Marshall
Part of the Topics in Language and Linguistics book series (TLLI)

Abstract

A common cause of confusion for the learner of English as a second language (ESL) is the discrepancy between the rules learned in the classroom and the English used by native speakers outside the classroom. The mismatch is often the result of sociolinguistic factors that operate in spoken American English, causing native speakers to “break” the rules that ESL students have struggled to master. When language variation is not taken into consideration in ESL instruction and materials development, the students receive an inaccruate and confusing representation of current usage. This chapter focuses on syntactic variation, specifically in the present perfect, a notably problematic grammatical category in the ESL curriculum. Following a brief look at the most common approach to presenting the present perfect, the chapter describes a syntactic variation study, based on interviews with native speakers, and examines the findings of this study in light of the specific concerns of the ESL classroom. The final section proposes guidelines for a presentation of the present perfect that takes language variation into account and demonstrates how sociolinguistic analysis can have a direct bearing on ESL materials development.

Keywords

Native Speaker Fair Price Language Variation American Play Time Adverbial 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helaine W. Marshall
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Communication ProcessesUniversity of Wisconsin—Green BayGreen BayUSA

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