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Overgenerated be from Topic Marker to Verbal Inflection
Kitaek Kim
70-81 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


This study explores the morphosyntactic properties of the 'overgenerated be' that appears between a subject and a thematic verb (e.g. she is go home) produced by Korean-speaking English learners, and discusses how the overgenerated be reflects L2 inflection development. This study argues that the overgenerated be initially functions as a topic marker, but then develops into a verbal inflection. A total of 377 writings of 23 first year Korean middle school students were examined for the study. The students were divided into three groups based on their English proficiency. The overgenerated be was found mostly in the two lowest proficiency groups: the lowest proficiency group used the overgenerated be as a topic marker, while the medium proficiency group used the 'overgenerated be' as a verbal inflection to mark tense.

Published in

Selected Proceedings of the 2009 Second Language Research Forum: Diverse Contributions to SLA
edited by Luke Plonsky and Maren Schierloh
Table of contents
Printed edition: $240.00