The Lexical Stage of Expressing Temporality by Bulgarian L2 Instructed Learners

Mariana Gotseva


This article focuses on some of the findings of the author’s research on the acquisition of English-tense morphology by Bulgarian L2 instructed learners, who have never been exposed to English in naturalistic conditions (English used by native speakers in an English-speaking country). The study has been conducted in the framework of Aspect Hypothesis (Andersen & Shirai, 1994) which makes a distinction between the grammatical aspect, marked by linguistic devices, such as verb morphology and auxiliaries, and the lexical aspect, which refers to the inherent temporal characteristics of verbs and to the temporal conditions of the situation that the verb designates (Sugaya and Shirai, 2007)  and is based on Vendler’s (1967) classification of verb-predicates according to their inherent semantic features: statives, activities, accomplishments and achievements.

The empirical data, collected through written narratives elicited by an excerpt of a silent film, showed some unexpected results with the group of learners with lower proficiency in EFL and these are the particular results which the article focuses on. They show support for the findings of a previous study on temporality expression in SLA, based on the  meaning-oriented approach, used in a project sponsored by the European Science Foundation and guided by Clive Perdue and Wolfgang Klein (1992), namely – that the expression of temporality exhibits a sequence which corresponds to stages of acquisition which are characterized by the use of pragmatic, lexical, and morphological means, which in their turn correspond to the general levels of interlanguage development labelled the pre-basic variety, the basic variety, and “beyond the basic variety” (Dietrich et al., 1995).


tense - aspect morphology; expressing temporality; meaning-oriented approach; lexical stage; SLA

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ISSN 2045-4031. University of Central Lancashire 2010-2013.