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postgraduate thesis: Acquisition of subject-verb agreement in pre-pubertal Cantonese students in Hong Kong

TitleAcquisition of subject-verb agreement in pre-pubertal Cantonese students in Hong Kong
Authors
Issue Date2010
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Beer, J. T.. (2010). Acquisition of subject-verb agreement in pre-pubertal Cantonese students in Hong Kong. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5017525
Abstract´╗┐Language is probably the greatest thing developed by mankind. Yet few have come to understand how it is acquired. I am one of them. I want to understand how it is acquired, and how students come to understand the important area of subject-verb agreement. The purpose of the research was to gain an understanding of local students whose mother tongue is Cantonese (L1), and what are the factors affecting their acquisition of subject-verb agreement in English. To a lesser degree, it is aimed at gaining an understanding of how language is acquired; to gain an understanding on how second language is acquired; and to gain an understanding of how grammar is acquired. The research was carried out as the author wanted to see if there was a reason why students could not understand subject-verb agreement in English. The author wanted to look at four main reasons. These included biological reasons, physiological reasons, developmental reason, and cultural reason. The research was conducted on children aged six to twelve from two main school streams (public and private) using a quantitative and qualitative survey. The quantitative survey included fifteen missing words, twenty statements, and five sentences to see if students could recognise if the statements were ungrammatical or grammatical. The qualitative survey was conducted with a group of primary four students (aged nine to ten) to gain an understanding of why certain answers were selected and what was the reasoning behind the decisions the participants made. From the researcher, it was discovered there was some level of first language interference, though to the exact degree it was questionable as it could not be determined quantifiably. It was evident from the YoE data that students new to English had the highest number of errors. It was also found that there was no absolute or definitive time or age when subject-verb agreement was evident. However, there was a sharp decrease in the number of errors at both schools at the age of eight. The results also show that culture does influence the learning of English as a second language in Hong Kong. It is not just because Cantonese has no Subject-verb agreement; it also extends to the teaching practices in the classroom and the culture of teaching through grammar. The problems this created became evident in the research.
DegreeMaster of Education
SubjectEnglish language - Study and teaching - Cantonese speakers.
English language - Study and teaching (Primary) - China - Hong Kong.
Second language acquisition.
Dept/ProgramEducation
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/183329

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorBeer, Jeffrey Thomas.-
dc.date.accessioned2013-05-26T06:54:14Z-
dc.date.available2013-05-26T06:54:14Z-
dc.date.issued2010-
dc.identifier.citationBeer, J. T.. (2010). Acquisition of subject-verb agreement in pre-pubertal Cantonese students in Hong Kong. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5017525-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/183329-
dc.description.abstract´╗┐Language is probably the greatest thing developed by mankind. Yet few have come to understand how it is acquired. I am one of them. I want to understand how it is acquired, and how students come to understand the important area of subject-verb agreement. The purpose of the research was to gain an understanding of local students whose mother tongue is Cantonese (L1), and what are the factors affecting their acquisition of subject-verb agreement in English. To a lesser degree, it is aimed at gaining an understanding of how language is acquired; to gain an understanding on how second language is acquired; and to gain an understanding of how grammar is acquired. The research was carried out as the author wanted to see if there was a reason why students could not understand subject-verb agreement in English. The author wanted to look at four main reasons. These included biological reasons, physiological reasons, developmental reason, and cultural reason. The research was conducted on children aged six to twelve from two main school streams (public and private) using a quantitative and qualitative survey. The quantitative survey included fifteen missing words, twenty statements, and five sentences to see if students could recognise if the statements were ungrammatical or grammatical. The qualitative survey was conducted with a group of primary four students (aged nine to ten) to gain an understanding of why certain answers were selected and what was the reasoning behind the decisions the participants made. From the researcher, it was discovered there was some level of first language interference, though to the exact degree it was questionable as it could not be determined quantifiably. It was evident from the YoE data that students new to English had the highest number of errors. It was also found that there was no absolute or definitive time or age when subject-verb agreement was evident. However, there was a sharp decrease in the number of errors at both schools at the age of eight. The results also show that culture does influence the learning of English as a second language in Hong Kong. It is not just because Cantonese has no Subject-verb agreement; it also extends to the teaching practices in the classroom and the culture of teaching through grammar. The problems this created became evident in the research.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.source.urihttp://hub.hku.hk/bib/B50175257-
dc.subject.lcshEnglish language - Study and teaching - Cantonese speakers.-
dc.subject.lcshEnglish language - Study and teaching (Primary) - China - Hong Kong.-
dc.subject.lcshSecond language acquisition.-
dc.titleAcquisition of subject-verb agreement in pre-pubertal Cantonese students in Hong Kong-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5017525-
dc.description.thesisnameMaster of Education-
dc.description.thesislevelMaster-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineEducation-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b5017525-
dc.date.hkucongregation2010-

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