The Effect of Comparative FonF Structure on Learning L2 Verb Components

Gholam Reza Parvizi


This study focuses on the impact of the type of form-focused instruction (FFI) on its efficiency in mastering L2 forms. The hypothesis that FFI, which induces structural and metalinguistic salience on the basis of contrastive analysis of the learner’s L1 and L2, would be particularly effective at facilitating the acquisition of difficult L2 forms was tested in a quasi-experimental study comparing the effectiveness of two types of FFI, one with and one without a contrastive component. The contrastive FFI explicitly drew learners’ attention to the cross-linguistic differences in the tense-aspect systems of their L2 and L1 while the non-contrastive treatment only focused on the tense-aspect system of the L2. The effects of these two types of FFI were assessed by analyzing the learners’ pre-test and post-test performance on two tasks differing in the extent to which they involve the activation of explicit and implicit linguistic knowledge: A grammatical judgment task and a controlled translation task. The subjects of the study comprised of 43 students majoring in English language in the Iranian capital university, Tehran, 22 were selected as for the experimental group and 21 for control group randomly. The results of the study revealed that the quantitative analysis of the Grammatical Judgment Test (GJT) data indicated no significant effect of CFFI due to the novelty of the translatory technique, or the potential individual differences in the learning orientation of the learners. On the contrary, the qualitative analysis indicated differential effects of this type of FFI according to the nature of target form, i.e. CFFI was beneficial in raising the grammatical judgment of Persian Learners of English (PLE) regarding present perfect form but not effective in their judgment of ungrammatical progressive forms. In terms of translation task, the CFFI appeared to be effective in the correct use of the target structures by PLE. This may be mainly due to the fact that Translation Test (TT) needed explicit knowledge which was presented in CFFI and that translation is a contrastive activity in nature.


Foreign language teaching; Form-focused instruction; Contrastive form-ocused instruction; Tense and aspect; Translation; Grammatical judgment

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