Shanthi Nadarajan, Chuah Kee Man, Bolu Oshodi


This article investigates the English language ability of a cross section of Malaysian second language learners. Using cross sectional data taken from a cartoon completion task given to one hundred and twenty respondents, the study investigates learner ability in terms of language knowledge and language use of three groups namely, initial, intermediate and finite stage. The goal of the project was to determine: a) how L2 learners use the past tense forms and pronouns; b) how second language (L2) learners use the knowledge acquired and c) how this knowledge is put to use in sentence constructions. The findings revealed that L2 learners at all levels continue to the exhibit performance errors which include: a) identical nominal gender in L1 overriding the different gender cues; b) some principles available only at the later stages of the process, and c) memory restrictions. Given the limited language proficiency of many of the subjects it was difficult to establish whether these errors were due to competing or shared representations or false assumptions that learning has taken place based on restricted insights into learners word use in classrooms.




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