The Acquisition of the Passive Alternation by Kuwaiti EFL Learners


  •  Abdullah Alotaibi    
  •  Hashan Alajmi    

Abstract

This study attempts to test whether fifty advanced Kuwaiti EFL learners have acquired the English passive alternation. To this end, the researchers used a Grammaticality Judgment Task (GJT) to check whether the participants would be able to distinguish between alternating and non-alternating verbs. The verbs used in the test were chosen based on their frequency in the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA). The results reveal that positive transfer from L1 played a big role in the participants' correct answers on the test, especially with regard to the verbs that passivise. Additionally, the participants may have provided wrong answers on the GJT due to their unfamiliarity with some of the verbs. However, the participants faced various difficulties with the verbs that do not passivise. These difficulties could be ascribed to over-generalising the passivisation rule, or confusing the non-causative with the passive construction. Their overall score suggests that they have not acquired the English passive alternation (total mean=45%). The study concludes with some recommendations for further research.



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