Event conceptualisation and aspect in L2 English and Persian: An application of the Heidelberg-Paris model
SND-ID: snd1120-1. Version: 1.0. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5878/wz3s-wt38
Somaje Abdollahian Barough - Stockholm University
Stockholm University - Department of English
The data have been used in an investigation for a PhD thesis in English Linguistics on similarities and differences in the use of the progressive aspect in two different language systems, English and Persian, both of which have the grammaticalised progressive. It is an application of the Heidelberg-Paris model of investigation into the impact of the progressive aspect on event conceptualisation. It builds on an analysis of single event descriptions at sentence level and re-narrations of a film clip at discourse level, as presented in von Stutterheim and Lambert (2005) DOI: 10.1515/9783110909593.203; Carroll and Lambert (2006: 54–73) http://libris.kb.se/bib/10266700; and von Stutterheim, Andermann, Carroll, Flecken & Schmiedtová (2012) DOI: 10.1515/ling-2012-0026.
However, there are system-based typological differences between these two language systems due to the absence/presence of the imperfective-perfective categories, respectively. Thus, in addition to the description of the status of the progressive aspect in English and Persian and its impact on event conceptualisation, an impor
However, there are system-based typological differences between these two language systems due to the absence/presence of the imperfective-perfective categories, respectively. Thus, in addition to the description of the status of the progressive aspect in English and Persian and its impact on event conceptualisation, an important part of the investigation is the analysis of the L2 English speakers’ language production as the progressives in the first languages, L1s, exhibit differences in their principles of use due to the typological differences. The question of importance in the L2 context concerns the way they conceptualise ongoing events when the language systems are different, i.e. whether their language production is conceptually driven by their first language Persian.
The data consist of two data sets as the study includes two linguistic experiments, Experiment 1 and Experiment 2. The data for both experiments were collected by email. Separate forms of instructions, and language background questions were prepared for the six different informant groups, i.e. three speaker groups and two experimental tasks, as well as a Nelson English test https://www.worldcat.org/isbn/9780175551972 on the proficiency of English for Experiment 2 was selected and modified for the L2 English speaker group.
Nelson English tests are published in Fowler, W.S. & Coe, N. (1976). Nelson English tests. Middlesex: Nelson and Sons. The test battery provides tests for all levels of proficiency. The graded tests are compiled in ten sets from elementary to very advanced level. Each set includes four graded tests, i.e. A, B, C, and D, resulting in 40 separate tests, each with 50 multiple-choice questions. The test entitled 250C was selected for this project. It belongs to the slot 19 out of the 40 slots of the total battery. The multiple-choice questions were checked with a native English professional and 5 inadequate questions relevant for pronunciation were omitted. In addition, a few modifications of the grammar questions were made, aiming at including questions that involve a contrast for the Persian L2 English learner with respect to the grammars of the two languages. The omissions and modifications provide an appropriate grammar test for very advanced Iranian learners of L2 English who have learnt the language in a classroom setting.
The data set collected from the informants are characterised as follows: The data from Experiment 1 functions as the basis for the description of the progressive aspect in English, Persian and L2 English, while the data from Experiment 2 is the basis for the analysis of its use in a long stretch of discourse/language production for the three speaker groups. The parameters selected for the investigation comprised, first, phasal decomposition, which involves the use of the progressive in unrelated single motion events and narratives, and uses of begin/start in narratives. Second, granularity in narratives, which relates to the overall amount of language production in narratives. Third, event boundedness (encoded in the use of 2-state verbs and 1-state verbs with an endpoint adjunct) partly in single motion events and partly in temporal shift in narratives. Temporal shift is defined as follows: Events in the narrative which are bounded shift the time line via a right boundary; events with a left boundary also shift the time line, even if they are unbounded. Fourth, left boundary comprising the use of begin/start and try in narratives. Finally, temporal structuring, which involves the use of bounded versus unbounded events preceding the temporal adverbial then in narratives (The tests are described in the documentation files aspectL2English_Persian_Exp2Chi-square-tests-in-SPSS.docx and aspectL2English_Persian_Exp2Chi-square-tests-in-SPSS.rtf).
In both experiments the participants watched a video, one relevant for single event descriptions, the other relevant for re-narration of a series of events. Thus, two different videos with stimuli for the different kinds of experimental tasks were used. For Experiment 1, a video of 63 short film clips presenting unrelated single events was provided by Professor Christiane von Stutterheim, Heidelberg University Language & Cognition (HULC) Lab, at Heidelberg University, German, https://www.hulclab.eu/. For Experiment 2, an animation called Quest produced by Thomas Stellmach 1996 was used. It is available online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTyev6OaThg. Both stimuli have been used in the previous investigations on different languages by the research groups associated with the HULC Lab.
The informants were asked to describe the events seen in the stimuli videos, to record their language production and send it to the researcher. For Experiment 2, most part of the L1 English data were provided by Prof. von Stutterheim, Heidelberg University, making available 34 re-narrations of the film Quest in English. 24 of them were selected for the present investigation. The project used six different informant groups, i.e. fully separate groups for the two experiments.
The data from single event descriptions in Experiment 1 were analysed quantitatively in Excel. The re-narrations of Experiment 2 were coded in NVivo 10 (2014) providing frequencies of various parametrical features (Ltd, Nv. (2014). NVivo QSR International Pty Ltd, Version 10. Doncaster, Australia: QSR International). The numbers from NVivo 10 were analysed statistically in Excel and SPSS (2017). The tools are appropriate for this research. Excel suits well for the smaller data load in Experiment 1 while NVivo 10 is practical for the large amount of data and parameters in Experiment 2. Notably, NVivo 10 enabled the analysis of the three data sets to take place in the same manner once the categories of analysis and parameters had been defined under different nodes. As the results were to be extracted in the same fashion from each data set, the L1 English data received from the Heidelberg for Experiment 2 were re-analysed according to the criteria employed in this project. Yet, the analysis in the project conforms to the criteria used earlier in the model. Show less..
Time period(s) investigated
2010-08-01 – 2013-07-31
Data format / data structure
Department of English
Abdollahian Barough, S. (2019). Event conceptualisation and aspect in L2 English and Persian: An application of the Heidelberg-Paris model. (PhD thesis). Stockholm University, Department of English.
If you have published anything based on these data, please notify us with a reference to your publication(s). If you are responsible for the catalogue entry, you can update the metadata/data description in DORIS.