E-ISSN 2651-2629
Acquisition of English Auxiliary Stranding Constructions by Persian EFL Learners [ALRJournal]
ALRJournal. 2020; 4(2): 54-67 | DOI: 10.14744/alrj.2019.13008

Acquisition of English Auxiliary Stranding Constructions by Persian EFL Learners

Fatemeh Khezri1, Mohammad Javad Rezai2, Mohammad Hasan Razmi2, Najmeh Dehghani Tafti1
1English Department, Faculty of Humanities, Science and Arts University, Yazd, Iran
2Department of Foreign Languages, Yazd University, Yazd, Iran

English verb phrase ellipsis (VPE) is among the constructions posing learnability problems for Persian learners of English. Just like English, v-stranding VPE in Persian requires (a) the presence of an overt, tense inflecting head, and (b) the satisfaction of an antecedence condition that enforces identity of the target and phrases. Regarding auxiliary stranding in English, the auxiliary be, unlike have, is not allowed to strand, because -ing carrying an aspectual interpretable feature cannot be deleted unless the progressive interpretation is recoverable. This study investigated whether Persian EFL learners could acquire the verb phrase ellipsis in general and the difference between be and have stranding constructions in particular. To this end, 60 intermediate and advanced English as a foreign language (EFL) participants and 10 native speakers of English completed an acceptability judgment task and a translation task. The results proved the Persian EFL learners' ability in the acquisition of the syntactic and discoursal properties of VPE constructions, confirming the role of first language (L1) cross-linguistic influence. On the other hand, the intermediate EFL learnersí comprehension and production of the auxiliary stranding constructions were inconsistent, confirming the Interpretability Hypothesis. The theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Keywords: Auxiliary, Stranding, Ellipsis, Interpretability Hypothesis, Verb-Phrase Ellipsis

Fatemeh Khezri, Mohammad Javad Rezai, Mohammad Hasan Razmi, Najmeh Dehghani Tafti. Acquisition of English Auxiliary Stranding Constructions by Persian EFL Learners. ALRJournal. 2020; 4(2): 54-67

Corresponding Author: Mohammad Hasan Razmi, Iran
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