Systematicity of L2 Interlanguage of Stress Assignment in English Compound Nouns and Phrasal Verbs by L1 Thai Learners

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Nipaporn Tangtorrith
Nattama Pongpairoj


This study aimed to investigate the production of stress in English compound nouns and phrasal verbs by L1 Thai learners. Based on the Interlanguage Hypothesis (Corder, 1982; Selinker, 1972), it was hypothesized that (1) there is a positive relationship between English proficiency levels and accuracy in stress assignment in compound nouns and phrasal verbs; and (2) L1 Thai learners’ systematicity of L2 English stress placement is influenced by L1 transfer. The participants were 60 first-year undergraduates who were equally divided into two groups, namely intermediate and advanced groups, based on their English proficiency levels. All the participants were required to read sentences containing three different types of compound nouns in the first task and read sentences containing compound nouns and their corresponding phrasal verbs in the second task. Their readings were analyzed using an independent-samples t-test and ANOVA. Although the advanced learners outperformed their intermediate counterparts in assigning stress in both tasks, the statistical results indicated a correlation between English proficiency levels and accuracy in stress placement only in compound nouns, but not in phrasal verbs. It was assumed that such systematicity found in the learners’ IL resulted from the interlanguage factor of language transfer.


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Author Biographies

Nipaporn Tangtorrith, Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand

A lecturer at the English Department, Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University, in Bangkok, Thailand. She holds a master’s degree in Education from Simon Fraser University, Canada. Her research interests include second language acquisition and language education.

Nattama Pongpairoj, Faculty of Arts & Applied Linguistics for Language Education Research Unit, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand

An associate professor at the English Department, Faculty of Arts, and also head of Applied Linguistics for Language Education Research Unit (ALLE), Chulalongkorn University, in Bangkok, Thailand. She received her PhD in Linguistics from the University of York. Her research interests lie in Second Language Acquisition, specifically on L2 representation and processing.


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