The effectiveness of written recasts in the second language acquisition of aspectual distinctions in french: A follow-up study

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This follow-up study on the acquisition of the aspectual distinction between the passé composé (PC) and the imparfait (IMP) investigates the differential outcomes of the results presented in an earlier study, Ayoun (2001), by pursuing two lines of research: the effectiveness of written recasts versus models and traditional grammar instruction, and the development of temporality in the interlanguage of French college students as second language learners (i.e., the Aspect Hypothesis). The earlier study found that all learners improved in their use of the PC but not the IMP. The R(recast)-group out-performed the M(model)-group and the G(grammar)-group, with a significant difference over the latter but not the former, which supported the hypothesis that recasts are the most effective form of treatment. The qualitative results of the present study weaken this finding because it was more difficult to distinguish among the three different treatments: (a) The G-group outperformed the R-and M-groups in accuracy and frequency in the PC; (b) all three groups decreased in their accuracy and frequency in the IMP but the G-group outperformed the other two groups; (c) the three groups were practically identical in the production of various predicate types in the PC and IMP on the pre-and posttests; and (d) overall, it was the G-group’s performance that showed a greater aspectual use of predicate frequency and type in the IMP. These new results partially support a prediction of the Aspect Hypothesis, according to which the use of past tense morphology is influenced by lexical class, but they offer only tentative support for the Imparfait Spreading hypothesis. A few preliminary suggestions regarding pedagogical applications are offered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-55
Number of pages25
JournalModern Language Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2004


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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