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WHY ENGLISH PASSIVE IS DIFFICULT TO TEACH (AND LEARN), by: Eli Hinkel - Essay Example

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Summary
Both English as a second language and English as a foreign language teachers have a problem whenever they are teaching the meanings, functions and uses of the passive voice. Many speakers of English as the first language also have some problems with passive constructions…
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WHY ENGLISH PASSIVE IS DIFFICULT TO TEACH (AND LEARN), by: Eli Hinkel

Download file to see previous pages... The Japanese, the Chinese and the Koreans, have problems when it comes to use of active verbs with inanimate subject nouns. This due to the fact their first language uses animate subjects with active verbs. Native speakers have no problem with this since most of them use active verbs with inanimate subjects. Sentences that contain both active and inanimate nouns are mostly found in academic texts.
There are several conclusions that be made based on the findings of the two experiments. Lexical and semantic features of sentences are normally common in other languages. However, lexical and semantic features are rarely used in English. This has had an immense effect on the grammatical judgments of non-native speakers. This is affecting the learning and teaching of passive voice.
Lexical features found in nouns and noun phrases have an impact on non-native speakers, they tend to believe that their agentivity and patient hood are correlated. The results show that there is a positive correlation between the perceptions of native speakers and nonnative speaker. However, it is interesting to note that grammatical judgment between the two groups varied greatly when it came to passive sentences. We can therefore conclude from the findings that lexical animacy has an effect on non-native speakers when it comes to determining whether passive and active constructions in English are grammatically correct.
Nonnative students that have been able to attain high levels of proficiency don’t seem to have the same level of grammatical judgments compared to native students even after several years of learning English. Proficiency levels were determined by the scores the non-native students scored in their TOEFL exams. Constructions by non-native students concerning semantic animacy, patienthood and agentitivty varied greatly from that of their native speakers counterparts. This proves that uses of passive and active English are complex to non-native speakers even ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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