The Patterns of Acquisition of Syntactic Regularities in Pre-Secondary School Second Language Learners of English

Emmanuel Uba, Edwin Onwuka, Oluwasegun Omidiora


The learning of complex syntactic structures of English by L2 learners have not been systematically dealt with in the available literature. This study investigated this problem, with the aim of replicating some works done in the L1, in order to determine their feasibility in the L2 perspective. Limited to a small sample, the study examined the developmental stages in the acquisition of English syntactic structures in 7 to 10-year-old children learning English as a second language. Six test constructs were used to examine linguistic competence over a wide range of surface structures, and statistical analysis provided the basis for interpretation of the general pattern of acquisition. The findings of the study show that the process of acquisition of syntactic structures continues actively during and after the primary school years among L2 learners, and they have implication not only for syntactic acquisition, but for language theory in general and L2 theory in particular.

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