Longitudinal Effects of Informal Language in Formal L2 Instruction

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Hirofumi Asada, Fukuoka Jogakuin University

This study investigates the longitudinal effects of informal language contact on formally instructed L2 learners through multiple approaches which include quantitative and qualitative data sources. It focuses on the use of the aspect markers –te iru and –te ru (the reduced form of –te iru) in Japanese oral discourse by Chinese exchange students (NNSs). The quantitative data for conversational tasks was transcribed and analyzed by Child Language Data Exchange System (CHILDES), and the frequency of occurrence and variation of aspect markers were compared with those of Japanese university students (NSs). Qualitative data from follow-up interviews and pre- and postsurveys was also analyzed. The findings were that: a) NSs used –te ru far more frequently and with more variation than –te iru; and b) NNSs used –te ru less than –te iru over a period of one year. However, the use of –te ru steadily increased with longer stays in Japan. The implications of the results for sociolinguistic theories are also discussed.