Creating the Timeline in English Narratives: the Bilingual Perspective
Jolanta Latkowska, University of Silesia, Poland
The article discusses the findings of a film retelling task conducted with two groups of Polish-English bilinguals: Polish immigrants to the UK and the Republic of Ireland, and Polish undergraduate students of English philology. To obtain insight into the processes underlying bilingual performance on the task, the study used Polish and English monolingual control groups. The results were interpreted against the theoretical framework of the conceptualization paradigm, as proposed by von Sttuterheim (2003). Despite cross-linguistic differences in the encoding of tense and aspect in the two languages, the bilinguals did not diverge from the monolingual controls in most aspects of narrative chronology. However, significant differences were found in expressions of simultaneity and in the use of present participles in L2 English. Since the study was conducted with advanced users of L2 English, it sheds light on those areas of the English tense-aspect system that pose the greatest challenge for Polish learners of the language. Additionally, the study allows a comparison of the effects of exposure to the L2 in two qualitatively different learning environments.