Due to the complexity of the English tense-aspect system, tense and aspect constitute a major source of error for EFL learners. A Cognitive Linguistics (CL)-based approach could potentially help learners develop a more meaningful understanding of grammatical constructions due to its focus on conceptual meaning. In this quasi-experimental study, 60 participants were from three S.4 intact classes at a secondary school in Hong Kong. The three classes were randomly assigned to one of these conditions: cognitive and task-supported, task-supported, and control. The three groups took a pretest, an immediate post-test and a delayed post-test. This study aims to investigate the pedagogical effectiveness of applying CL analysis of English tense and aspect to L2 instruction and integrating CL-inspired explicit instruction into task-supported instruction on the L2 development of the English tense-aspect system as measured by both controlled and free production tasks. The findings of analysis of variance procedures and t-test (p <.0001) indicate that participants from the cognitive and task-supported group outperformed the participants from the task-supported group and the control group and demonstrated a more flexible use of past and progressive morphology. This study paves the way towards a rethinking of grammar instruction in favour of the CL-based approach.
Vanessa Pang, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong