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The Acquisition of English Simple Past Tense - Essay Example

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In the paper “The Acquisition of English Simple Past Tense” the author analyzes the use of three languages very widely spoken and written in the world now: English, Chinese and Spanish languages. All the three languages are among the six languages in which the UN publishes its official documents…
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The Acquisition of English Simple Past Tense
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Download file to see previous pages And every ethnic Spanish or Chinese citizen of USA (or any other citizen of the country, for that matter) is expected to have a good knowledge and understanding of the English language. They try to learn the English language, some of them, late in their lives, if they have come to the USA, late in their lives, and that is not an easy task. In fact learning any second language late in life is not at all an easy task for anyone, mostly because the grammar and structure of each language is unique in some respect or other and the difficulty of mastering a language increases in direct proportion to the age of the learner.
Chinese is equally a widely spoken language, with considerably more than a billion people being very proficient in that language. (howardcc.edu, http://www.howardcc.edu./edu/kids languages. html, retrieved August 27, 2006.) And Spanish does not lag far behind, with 410 million people claiming the language as their first language. (howardcc.edu.). We analyse in this paper some aspects of language acquisition by considering the pattern of ‘simple past tense’ in Chinese, Spanish and in English.
All languages have a system of grammar which is a body of rules specifying what sequences of sounds or words are correct in forming sentences while speaking or writing in a particular language. Many grammar books exist in almost all languages dealing with rules for speaking or writing the particular language concerned, or a particular analysis of the rules of the language. An early English language grammar published in the USA was in 1831 written by Noah Webster, entitled ‘An Improved Grammar of the English Language’, which may be consulted now in the libraries of the British Museum in London, and of American Universities like Harvard and Michigan. (http://www.netstate.com/states/people/ct_nw.htm
Corpora and Childes
It was stated above that there are difficulties in acquiring the knowledge and use of a second language. To investigate the possible minimisation of that difficulty, a thorough search was made of the ‘corpora’ and ‘childes’ web sites in the internet. The word ‘corpora’ literarily is the plural of the word ‘corpus’, which means “a body, living or dead; the corporeal substance of a thing”. In the study of language acquisition, corpora are a technique often used by linguists as the raw material from which language description may be fashioned. Corpora can provide the basis of empirically justified, linguistic observations on which to base CALL (Computer-assisted language learning) materials. Additionally, the corpora themselves may become the raw material of CALL based ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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