Journal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice, Vol 11, No 2 (2014)

Narrative in support of an end-state statement: Evidencing cross-linguistic influence in learning paths and discoursal outcomes

Asha Tickoo
Issued Date: 11 Jun 2018

Abstract


This study examines Chinese learners' use, and acquisition, of a specialized genre of English narrative: narrative in support of an end-state statement (NIE). It uses a comparative assessment of English and Chinese NIE to understand learner text at three levels of proficiency. The study identifies differences between English and Chinese NIE in the backdrop of broad configurational commonality: unlike English, Chinese allows for less definition in thematic delimitation, formal marking of developmental design, and narrative texture, as well as the distinctive feature of a linguistic separation of crucial from subsidiary elements of the narrative development. These differences, together, suggest the accommodation of a less explicit, more implicational style of narration. The influence of this difference is apparent in the acquisition of both NIE-specific and more general lexico-syntactic features. But learning follows a linear progression across the two lower levels of proficiency, in the direction of the target configuration. At the highest level of proficiency, when students are both most fluent and most confident, however, this very advantage makes them 'break free', and, so, they deviate from expected practice, in a reversion to internalized first-language (L1) discoursal practice. Pedagogical implications arising from the study findings are considered.

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DOI: 10.1558/japl.28908

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