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Title: Morpho-syntactic competence of L2 speakers : the case of Malay L2 speakers of English
Authors: Sarbini, Monaliz
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This study compares the morpho-syntactic competence of two groups of Malay speakers of English. Its purpose is to investigate whether the English of Malay L2 speakers of English who had exposure to English-medium instruction is closer to the norms of the inner circle English variety (Kachru, 1986,1988) when compared to Malay L2 speakers of English who received Malay-medium instruction. Prior to Malaysia’s independence from Britain in 1957, the colonial government and missionaries set up primary and secondary schools using English as the medium of instruction. In 1970, in the process of developing a unified multiracial, multicultural and multilingual nation, Malaysia made Malay the official national language and Malay replaced English as the medium of instruction in all government and government-aided schools (except vernacular Chinese and Tamil schools). That meant that there was a generation of students, between 1957 and 1970, who were educated in English. Since the 1970s, there has been a popular assumption in Malaysia s that the English of Malaysian speakers has declined, particularly with respect to the use of inflection morphology. Despite this long-held assumption, no study has explored the morpho-syntactic differences for pre-1970 and post-1970 generations in Malaysia. A complicating factor is that there has since been considerable development in Malaysian English and it has emerged as one of the New World Englishes (Platt et al., 1984; Kachru, 1986). Malaysian English, according to Schneider (2003) was still in its nativization phase. It is in this environment the present study is set. In particular it looks at speakers’ production of aspects of English morpho-syntax including pronominal subjects, past-tense inflection, copula verbs, auxiliary verbs, subject-verb agreement in main/lexical, copula and auxiliary verbs, articles and plural marking. It also investigates whether certain extralinguistic factors can be found to have influenced speakers’ English. These included sex, level of education (secondary or tertiary), formal ii exposure to English (total hours of English instruction) current use of English at home/office and online; interaction in English with native speakers in English and with non-native speakers in English. Results from 23 participants for whom these factors as well as English-medium education showed that their English was closer to inner-circle English than the Malay-medium educated participants. Keywords: L2 acquisition, morpho-syntactic competence, variability, grammatical features/morpheme, English medium education, Malay medium education, extralinguistic factors.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics

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