Acquisition of wh-questions in english as a second language: a study of lubukusu li speakers
Simiyu, Caleb Waswa
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In this study I examine the English Interlanguage of Lubukusu L1 speakers. The sample is drawn from secondary school students in Bungoma District. All the 36 students are subjected to a written Questionnaire and an Oral interview. Using the frequency count approach, the IL features are identified and placed into the following categories: Wh- Preposing transformation Subject-Auxiliary transposing transformation Do support transformation Affix-hopping transformation. The identified features are then described using Chomsky's Standard Theory and their presence in the learners' productive data explained using Selinker's (1972, 1992) Principle cognitive processes under the Interlanguage Theory. Then, on the basis of available literature on language acquisition, the study compares the regularities in the acquisition of English as a first language and the observed order in the acquisition of English as a second language. This study also discusses the various causes of the Interlingual features observed in the data. The study has shown that the Affix hopping is the least performed transformation and Whfronting is the most performed transformation. After considering various strategies of second language learning according to Selinker's (1972, 1992) Interlanguage Theory, this study establishes the main cause of the morpho-syntactic features in the learners' IL to be the `Overgeneralization of L2 rules'. This study also establishes a marked difference in the performance of transformations between the Oral tasks and written tasks. At the linguistic level, the learners seem to perform better in Oral tasks than in written tasks. It also has shown that the length of exposure to formal instruction affects the rate and success of the learning of English as a second language. The learners seem to acquire the Wh-question syntactic structure systematically in the following order: A) Wh-fronting B) Subject-auxiliary inversion C) Do support D) Affix-hopping. This thesis is divided into six chapters. Chapter one is a general introduction to the study. Chapter two contains the Literature Review. Chapter three deals with the Methodology. Then chapter four deals with Data Presentation and Analysis. Discussions of the findings are in chapter five. Finally, the Implications, areas for further research and conclusion are contained in chapter six.