Second Language Acquisition

Kathleen Bardovi‐Harlig

in The Oxford Handbook of Tense and Aspect

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780195381979
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Second Language Acquisition

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  • Linguistics
  • Language Acquisition
  • Grammar, Syntax and Morphology



This article presents an overview of recent work on the aspect hypothesis within second-language acquisition research on tense and aspect. Interlanguage (the emerging second-language grammar) is systematic and constitutes a natural language. Second-language acquisition exhibits remarkably similar developmental sequences or paths regardless of environment, instruction, or even first language or target language. The aspect hypothesis predicts both the initial restricted use of verbal morphology (perfective past, imperfective past, and progressive) and its subsequent spread in the L2 grammar. The article also compares the aspect hypothesis with the discourse hypothesis before concluding with a consideration of additional areas of investigation, including compositionality, the polysemy and multifunctionality of progressive and imperfective, frequency effects, acquisition at the periphery, and use of judgment tasks to test the developing L2 systems in areas that cannot be investigated by production data.

Keywords: second-language acquisition; tense; aspect; interlanguage; aspect hypothesis; discourse hypothesis; morphology; compositionality; perfective past; imperfective past

Article.  10686 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Language Acquisition ; Grammar, Syntax and Morphology

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