The Findings To Research Question One English Language Essay

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This chapter is mainly to discuss and analyze all the data collected for the study. In general, the researcher would like to investigate the two Research Questions as stated below:

To what extent the mistakes made by Chinese educated students majoring in English Language in UTAR are influenced by their Chinese mother tongue when they form past participle in English?

What are the underlying factors of Chinese educated students having difficulties in forming English past participles?

For Research Question One, the researcher would like to achieve the goal by getting the information from Elicited Production Task and Translation Strategy. A total 15 participants' answers to be observed to what extent the mistakes made by Chinese educated background students majoring in English language are influenced by their Chinese mother tongue when they form past participle in English. Out of the 15 students, only one student's mother tongue is English language, while the others are primarily Chinese mother tongue.

Moreover, it is commonly known that L2 learners are always influence by their prior knowledge, including grammatical knowledge and structure patterns when forming L2 sentences. As claim by Jones (2010) who believes that "Learning another language does not magically remove the knowledge of one's L1: One will naturally think in one's native language, and will also have a perpetual awareness of cross-associations between languages for the simple reason that every idea is indissolubly associated with some word or phrase in our own language". The statement seems to convey that language transfer is most probably happened naturally when one learns L2.

In current study, the participant had answered 10 statements in the first part of Section B, the Elicited Production Task and then translated three short sentences from Chinese to English in the second part of Section B, the Translation Strategy. The questionnaires are distributed to the students before their lecture class started. It is aimed to avoid students get distracted in class which may lead to unreliability results.

Later on, in the data analysis shown in appendix 1, the researcher is able to identify different answers that produced by the participants to find out the answer for the Research Question One, "To what extent the mistakes made by Chinese educated students majoring in English language in UTAR are influenced by their Chinese mother tongue when they form past participle in English". Furthermore, table of frequency count for each statement in different section will be presented and analyzed into more details.

For Research Question Two, the researcher is keen to examine what are the underlying factors of Chinese educated students having difficulties in forming English past participles. Similarly, the 15 Chinese educated background students will then continue answering the four Open-Ended Questions in the final section of the questionnaire that aims to understand their opinions hold toward English past participle.

Hence, in order to answer the two research questions above, the researcher would look into different studies conducted by different researchers as to produce a better piece of work.

In the subsequent section, the results of the survey design which is the questionnaire will be presented. The original piece of participants' answers will be put in Appendix 1. The researcher will demonstrate the summary in frequency table to show the mistakes made by the Chinese ESL students in order to explain the Research Question One.

4.2 RESULTS OF THE SURVEY DESIGN - QUESTIONNAIRE

In this section, the researcher plans to resolve the Research Question One by investigate the question of to what extent the mistakes made by final year Chinese educated background undergraduates majoring in English language in UTAR are influenced by Mandarin when they form English past participle. First of all, the participants' personal background information would be briefly explained in section 4.2.1. Next, the charts for Elicited Production Task and Translation Strategy were to be presented in section 4.2.2 and 4.2.3 for short descriptions alongside the summary tables for the detailed analysis on the participants' answers.

4.2.1 PERSONAL DETAILS

As mentioned earlier in the previous chapter, participants who joining the survey design were primarily the final year students from English language course. There were seven questions to clarify the participants' personal background information in order to know about their age, what types of primary school and secondary school that they had studied before, their first language or mother tongue, their second language, the language or dialect that they speak the most as well as the overall English proficiency that they have. The selection of participants in this research was mainly chosen based on final year students majoring in English language in UTAR who came from primary and/or secondary Chinese school. The students are given 15 minutes to finish the questionnaire.

The results showed all the 15 participants are in their respective 20s. 73.3% out claimed that language or dialect they speak most was their mother tongue, Mandarin. While, the other 33.3% of them stated different kinds of language or dialects like English, Cantonese and Hokkien. When they came to the next question enquiring their English proficiency, most of the participants affirmed that they could only speak moderate English because they did not speak English frequently and seldom read English books.

4.3 RESEARCH QUESTION ONE AND FINDINGS

The researcher would like to hunt for answer to Research Question One below:

To what extent the mistakes made by Chinese educated students majoring in English Language in UTAR are influenced by their Chinese mother tongue when they form past participle in English?

Based on the 10 questions below, the researcher has clarified different answers that the participants hold towards the past participle in English. The 10 questions accompanied with the charts in this section illustrated the percentages of each question that the participants have answered correctly and incorrectly toward the past participle in English.

4.3.1 RESULTS OF ELICITED PRODUCTION TASK

I've never __felt__ (feel) so good!

Figure 4.3.1.1: Percentages of participants' answers for question one in Elicited Production Task.

The chart above showed the percentages of participants who were able to answer the statement correctly. There were majority 93.3% of the students answered correctly, while 6.7% of them answered it wrongly.

According to Schacter, Tyson, and Diffley (1976) in Gass and Schacter's (1989) book comment that "In a substantial number of cases, even very advanced non-native speakers seem to lack clear grammaticality judgements. The unclear character of non-native intuitions has even prompted some scholars to suggest that a third class of grammaticality judgements - indeterminate - is needed in the description of learner language". This means that sometimes language learners form sentences in their writing or speaking are based on their intuition. One of the participants in this research has also commented that "if a sentence sounds good with a particular word, it means great."

In a nutshell, it can be said that the participants are somehow following their intuitive in using grammatical rules when forming English sentences in both written and communication.

Joshua can't go skiing anymore. He has __broken__ (break) his leg.

Figure 4.3.1.2: Percentages of participants' answers for question two in Elicited Production Task.

The participants hold various answers to this statement. There was a clear message showing that 66.7% of the students answered correctly, "broken". However, 33.3% of them were unable to answer it in which the answers given were "break" and "broke". The students' confusions may due to they saw the auxiliary have which indicates present tense and led them to think that they should also change the following verb into past tense in order to obtain a past in meaning sentences. Fisher (2005) mentions that "the combination of have + past participle is past in meaning, despite the fact that the auxiliary is in the present tense. This is why the tense is called present perfect". However, Chinese ESL learners seemed to have difficulty in using present perfect tense and past perfect tense correctly.

In the past few years, it has __become__ (become) more and more difficult to get into college.

Figure 4.3.1.3: Percentages of participants' answers for question three in Elicited Production Task.

As shown above, 40% of the participants were able to answer the statement accurately. Interestingly, 60% of the participants were answered it wrongly. This happened might because of the participants have forgotten whether the past participle form of "become" is written as "become" or "became". As supports by Fowler (1908), "the mistakes are sometimes made with the infinitive because they are often forgotten by people".

She's getting married in a week, and she hasn't __chosen__ (choose) her dress yet.

Figure 4.3.1.4: Percentages of participants' answers for question four in Elicited Production Task.

Based on the figure 4.3.1.4 above, participants who answered the statement accurately has only slight differences with the participants who answered it wrongly. There were 53.3% of the undergraduates answered the statement correctly and 46.7% of them answered it wrongly. This simply because the participants spelled the answer wrongly as instead of the word 'chosen', the participants spelled it as 'choosen'.

It's so hot that I've __drunk__ (drink) three jugs of Coke already this afternoon.

Figure 4.3.1.5: Percentages of participants' answers for question five in Elicited Production Task.

The extract was well captured in Chang (2001), "Regarding methods of learning, a salient feature of Chinese education is rote memorization". It could be explained in a way that Chinese learners employ memorization technique during their Chinese mother tongue learning process which may be due to tremendous basic written units of Chinese, the characters. However, the memorization technique is more suitable to apply in a short term learning process rather than a long term learning process. For instance, language learners should apply grammatical rules in language that they learn and not solely memorize it.

By looking at the chart above, the researcher observed that only 40% of the participants answered the statement accurately with the answer "drunk". On the other hand, majority of the participants were failed to answer the above statement. The result showed that up to 60% of the students answered the statement wrongly in which they appear to be confused whether the word "drink" in past participle should be spelled as "drunk" or "drank". That is why most of the participants have given the wrong answers.

We're late, the movie has already __begun__ (begin).

Figure 4.3.1.6: Percentages of participants' answers for question six in Elicited Production Task.

The result showed 53.3% of the students answered the above statement correctly while 46.7% of them answered it wrongly. From the data collected, it clearly indicates the participants' moderate level in English as most of the undergraduates answered "began", while there is a participant who answered with a non-existing word "begain".

The price of oil has __fallen__ (fall) rapidly since February.

Figure 4.3.1.7: Percentages of participants' answers for question seven in Elicited Production Task.

As shown by the chart above, 40% of the participants gave correct answer, "fallen", and 60% of them answered "fell" to the above statement. The participants seem more used to the word "fall" or "fell" rather than "fallen" in their daily conversations with friends as well as in their written assignments. However, compared to another two sentences which are also taken from the Elicited Production Task, percentages for the current statement is relatively lower than the other two statements, as in "Joshua can't go skiing anymore. He has broken his leg", with 66.7% correct answers, and "Someone has stolen my jewellery!" with 60% correct answers.

Mr. Smith has __taught__ (teach) English at V-Max for many years.

Figure 4.3.1.8: Percentages of participants' answers for question eight in Elicited Production Task.

According to Ellis (1994), "linguistic performance is a term used in the linguistic theory of transformational generative grammar that refers to language seen as a set of specific utterances produced by the speakers. In fact, this proved that linguistic performance is a language used by the learners to handle the problems and process the communication strategies".

Anyway, even though the chart above showed only 73.3% of the participants answered the statement correctly. However, it has obtained the second highest correctness that the participants have answered among all the 10 statements in the Elicited Production Task. While, only 26.7% of the students answer inaccurately. Noticeably, two highest correct scores that obtained by the participants, as showed in figure 4.3.1.1 and figure 4.3.1.8 indicate the lesser transformational of the answers, the lesser mistakes made by the participants, such as "fell-felt-felt" and "teach-taught-taught".

He's never __swum__ (swim) in the sea before.

Figure 4.3.1.9: Percentages of participants' answers for question nine in Elicited Production Task.

5 Non-Native Speakers in the English Classroom (n.d.) believes that one of the most common mistakes that ESL learners always make is the irregular verbs in English, especially the verb "do not" follows the usual style by adding -ed to form past tense like walk-walked. The declaration inflects directly in this statement. Fascinatingly, there were up to 80% of the participants answered the statement wrongly, whereas the rest 20% of them answered it correctly. This indicates the participants are more familiar with the verbs require them to add suffix -ed to the base form rather than the irregular verb which required the students to change the word form, like "swim-swam-swum".

Someone has __stolen__ (steal) my jewellery!

Figure 4.3.1.10: Percentages of participants' answers for question ten in Elicited Production Task.

As showed by the chart above, 60% of the participants were able to answer the statement correctly. Conversely, 40% of them answered it wrongly. This phenomenon strongly supported by the statement made by Wang (2000) who claimed that the irregular verbs in Chinese language are indicated by changing of word orders. In English, the verbs, "steal", "stole" or "stolen" can easily comprehend with only a word in Chinese, tou. This is because English is a language that has tenses but Chinese do not has any tense.

4.3.2 RESULTS OF TRANSLATION STRATEGY

ba ba qu shang ban le. (Father has gone to work.)

Figure 4.3.2.1: Participants' translation for question one in Translation Strategy.

The chart above showed the percentage of the Chinese ESL learners who translated the statement correctly or wrongly. There were 73.3% of the participants who were able to translate the sentence correctly, while 26.7% of them translated it wrongly. However, among the correct translated sentences, there were 46.7% of the students translated the sentence into present perfect tense as in "Father has gone to work" and the other 26.7% has translated it into past tense, "Father went to work".

On the contrary, the wrong translated sentences are shown as below:

Father has went to work.

Father has gone for working.

Father when to work.

Father already going to work.

The first wrong translated sentence is due to the students employed the combination of singular "has" with the past tense "went". According to Lim (2011), it may be effectively enhanced the ESL learners' acquisition of verb forms in a certain tense and/or aspect if the teachers employ the memory-related strategies to them. Hence, the mistakes made by the participants may due to the way their teacher taught them during the primary and/or secondary school period by using the memory or memory-related strategies when learning, especially memorizing English grammar rules.

The second wrong translated sentence is because the students use the wrong preposition in English. The students should have just use the "infinitive-to" and the original form of action verb "work", as in "Father has gone to work" and not "Father has gone for work".

Next, the participants are not only having the difficulties mastering English grammar but also having the problem of homophones. Homophones sometimes also called Heterographs which can be defined as the words that are spelled differently but sound the same (McCarthy, 2010). As such, instead of using the word "went", the students spelled it as "when".

Lastly, the participants use "already" in forth wrong translated sentence to indicate the perfect tense in Chinese. As summarized by Xiao (2002), the adverb yi/yijing means "already" in English which is frequently used to lexicalize the perfect meaning of result in Chinese. In short, Chinese ESL learners would see the word already equivalent to the yi/yijing which signals the realization of a situation in a period of time has up to the present.

na nan hai zhao dao ta de shou biao le. (That boy has found his watch.)

Figure 4.3.2.2: Participants' translation for question two in Translation Strategy.

Based on the chart above, total participants who translated the statement correctly has up to 80% and only 20% of the students have translated it wrongly. Amusingly, the percentage of participants who translated the statement correctly into the present perfect tense has the same result with the previous statement as in statement one in the Translation Strategy section. Both the sentences "Father has gone to work" and "That boy has found his watch" were showed the same result, 46.7%. While, the rest 33.30percent were translated the sentence into the past tense, "Father went to work".

The wrong translated sentence has been translated as "The boy had found his watch." The reason why the students translated so may because they assumed that since the transitive verb found is in its past tense meaning, thus, the combination of auxiliary had + found should be use together to express the past perfect tense. In fact, according to Learning English Online (n.d.), "Past perfect tense: mostly when two actions in a story are related to each other. For example, the action which had already happened is put into past perfect, while the other action is put into simple past."

In a nutshell, it can be concluded that Chinese ESL learners are not very clear about what present perfect tense and past perfect tense mean.

ta men ba men suo le. (They have locked the door.)

Figure 4.3.2.3: Percentages of Participants' translation for question three in Translation Strategy.

Finally, the chart above showed the same results as the percentages with the previous statement as in statement two in the Translation Strategy section. There were totally 80% of the participants translated the statement correctly while 20% of them translated it wrongly. However, there were only 53.3% of the students translated the sentence into present perfect tense and 26.7%of them translated it into past tense.

The results of wrong translation sentences showed as below:

They lock the door.

They have lock the door.

Notice that the verb lock in both sentences does not have any suffix -ed at the end of the verb. Aarts (1996-1998) explained that, "the -ed ending is known as Inflections, in which it is added to the base form of the verb in English language". As translated, the participants are actually relying heavily on their Chinese mother tongue in which they used direct translation method to construct the English sentence from Chinese into English.

The researcher has mentioned earlier in the Chapter Two that Chinese is a non-inflected language and conveys meaning through word order, adverbials or shared understanding of the context. "The Chinese verb has only one form and is not conjugated to indicate tense" (Maxwell, n.d.). Thus, it is not a surprise issue when the Chinese students "automatically" use the word lock to indicate past tense in English.

4.3.3 SUMMARY OF THE FINDINGS TO RESEARCH QUESTION ONE

In conclusion, the researcher has answered the Research Question One by demonstrating the tables of frequency count and percentages of the distinctive grammatical features in past participle that used among Chinese ESL learners in each sub-section to investigate to what extent the UTAR Chinese educated background students who majoring in English language course having difficulties using past participle in English. The results for Elicited Production Task showed average 54% correct answers and 46% wrong answers that given by the participants. The results are shown in the following table (Tables 4.6). On the other hand, the results for Translation strategy indicated average 77.7% of correct translated sentences and 22.3% are wrong translated sentences. The result for Translation Strategy is then showed in the following table (Tables 4.6). In the next section, the researcher intends to explore more about the underlying factors that caused Chinese educated background undergraduates majoring in English language in UTAR through Open-Ended Questions shown in Appendix 2.

4.4 RESEARCH QUESTION TWO AND FINDINGS

The researcher would like to hunt for answer to Research Question Two below:

What are the underlying factors of Chinese educated students having difficulties in forming English past participles?

Based on the four Open-ended questions below, the researcher would like to clarify what are the difficulties for Chinese educated students when forming English past participles. The four questions accompanied with their figures in this section illustrate the percentages of each question that represent the different point of views among the Chinese educated background students majoring in English language course. The questions cover the participants' perspectives and behaviors as well as actions that they hold to check on their attitudes towards the past participle in English.

4.4.1 RESULTS OF OPEN-ENDED QUESTIONS

Do you know what past participle in English is?

Figure 4.4.1.1: Percentages of Students Who Know What Past Participle in English is.

Certainly, tertiary level students are always expected to know what past participle is in English as it belongs to one of the most basic tense in English grammar. However, the chart above showed there are only 73.3% of the students know what past participle is, and 26.7% of the undergraduates do not really familiar with the past participle. The reasons given by them were because of seldom following the proper English grammatical rules and most of them have forgotten the purpose of past participle.

Do you know when to use past participle in English? In which tense?

Figure 4.4.1.2: Percentages of Students Who Knows When to Use and which Tense is Past Participle Belongs to in English.

The chart above showed a clear message that 60% of the Chinese ESL learners know when to use and which tense is past participle belongs to in English. While, 40% of them said "NO" to the statement. Amusingly, some of the participants even stated that the past participle is used in past participle tense but there is no past participle tense in English language. Below are the reasons why the students do not know when to use the past participle in English:

Just speak, if it sounds good. Great!

I don't know what is past participle.

Because I don't really memorize the proper grammar way.

When you are forming English sentences, do you directly translate the English sentences into Chinese sentences or vice versa?

Figure 4.4.1.3: Percentages of Students Directly Translate the English Sentences into Chinese or vice versa when Forming Sentences.

Unexpectedly, the chart above obtained the same result or percentages with the question one, 73.3% of the students would use direct translation method to form the sentences in both Chinese and English languages. The reasons given to support were showed as below:

Sometimes it helps in understanding.

Because English is my second language and I am too familiar with Mandarin.

Because my first language is Chinese, thus, I will automatically get influenced by Chinese when forming English sentences.

Conversely, 26.7% of the students would not use direct translation method when forming sentences neither English nor Chinese languages. In their opinions, both languages have different forms, rules and systems. In addition, they felt if the direct translation method is used, the sentence structure would not only be accurate but also make the sentences sounds weird as well as occur the wrong grammatical and structural forms.

Do you think your mother tongue which is Chinese Language has influenced you in forming English sentences?

Figure 4.4.1.4: Percentages of Students think Their Mother Tongue Have Influenced Them in Forming English Sentences.

Joseph & Jung (2006) stated "Language transfer, or the incorporation of patterns from the native language into the target language, is a common source of errors among learners of a second or foreign language". The claimed of language transfer is also applied to the UTAR Chinese ESL students. Majority of the participants commented that they will form the Chinese sentences before they formed it into English because such habit has being built since young or more than 20 years.

Hilariously, the chart above showed the same percentages with the first and second statement in the open-ended section in which up to 73.3% of the undergraduates supported that their mother tongue has influenced their L2, English language significantly. While, less than half or only 26.7% of the participants said "NO" to the statement. Reasons were provided by the participants as below:

I have learned to construct sentences without translating from Mandarin.

Sometimes the grammar is wrong because Chinese don't have past or present tense.

4.4.2 SUMMARY OF THE FINDINGS TO RESEARCH QUESTION TWO

Up to this juncture, the researcher has responded to the question two by demonstrating the charts to answer the four questions as illustrated in the previous section. The results of frequency count of different perspectives among Chinese educated students majoring in English language in UTAR were shown in the following tables (Table 4.8). The findings in this section reveal that there are differences in the aspects of perspectives and approaches used among UTAR Chinese undergraduates who majoring in English language or known as ESL learners towards the past participle in English.

Overall, the Chinese-speaking English majors who do not know what past participle is and which tense past participle should be use has not more than 50%.

Additionally, the researcher has also discovered that most of the Chinese ESL undergraduates form English sentences are usually form Chinese sentences first and then only produce English sentences. Furthermore, majority of them are actually facing language transfer during their process of learning English while minority majors thought so. In the final part of this chapter, the conclusion will be further elaborated by the researcher.

Table 4.6: Results of Frequency Count of Section B (1) in Questionnaire, Elicited Production Tasks among Chinese Majoring in English Language.

Question No.

Base form/ Infinitive

Correct Answers

Percentages (%)

Incorrect Answers

Percentages (%)

1.

feel

14

93.3

1

6.7

2.

break

10

66.7

5

33.3

3.

become

6

40

9

60

4.

choose

8

53.3

7

46.7

5.

drink

6

40

9

60

6.

begin

8

53.3

7

46.7

7.

fall

6

40

9

60

8.

teach

11

73.3

4

26.7

9.

swim

3

20

12

80

10.

steal

9

60

6

40

Table 4.7: Results of Frequency Count of Section B (2) in Questionnaire, Translation Strategy among Chinese Majoring in English Language.

Question No.

Correct Translation

Sub-Total of Correct Translation

Percentages (%)

Wrong Translation

Percentages (%)

Present Perfect Tense

Percentages (%)

Past Tense

Percentages (%)

11.

7

46.7

4

26.7

11

73.3

4

26.7

12.

7

46.7

5

33.3

12

80

3

20

13.

8

53.3

4

26.7

12

80

3

20

Table 4.8: Results of Frequency Count of Section C in Questionnaire, Open-Ended Questions among Chinese Majoring in English Language.

Question No.

Reply (YES)

Percentages (%)

Reply (NO)

Percentages (%)

11

73.3

4

26.7

9

60

6

40

11

73.3

4

26.7

11

73.3

4

26.7

4.5 CONCLUSION

As far as this chapter is concerned, the researcher has responded to the two research questions set in this study. Data analysis has been performed to identify the two major sections: (1) To what extent the mistakes made by Chinese educated students majoring English Language in UTAR are influenced by their Chinese mother tongue when they form past participle in English?

Definitely, the findings in the first section reveal the Chinese educated background students who majoring in English language in UTAR are making mistakes in using and forming past participle word and sentences in English, especially the irregular forms. Thus, the researcher has summarized the four main problems that faced by the Chinese ESL learners in using and forming past participle in English.

First of all, the results showed the participants are failed to add -en to the base form of verbs to form the past participle, such as break-broke-broken, steal-stole-stolen and so on. In addition, the participants also failed to add -ed as they thought the past meaning is usually form by adding an -ed to any base form of verbs. For instance, the word "falled" has been filled into the questionnaire. However, throughout the data analysis, the researcher found the participants are more familiar with the past tense rather than the present or past perfect tense. In this sense, instead of answer with broken/ fallen/ stolen, the participants chose to answer with the past tense forms as shown below:

2. Joshua can't go skiing anymore. He has broke his leg.

7. The price of oil has fell rapidly since February.

10. Someone has stole my jewellery!

Secondly, only small portion of the ESL learners who came from Chinese educated background were failed to use English irregular morphological forms, such as fell-felt-felt, teach-taught-taught and so forth. For instance, 20% of the students were failed to answer the statement "Mr. Smith has taught English at V-Max for many years" accurately. The answers that provided by the students including, teaches, teach and been teaching. In this sense, as the researcher has mentioned earlier, some language learners are randomly use or form any word and sentences based on their intuitive during their language learning process.

Next, one of the reasons where Chinese ESL learners find English irregular verbs very difficult to master is because of the confusion in spelling. For instance, the words choosen and begain have been "created" by the participants.

Last but not least, the students are also getting confused of the irregular verbs like swim-swam-swum, drink-drank-drunk and become-become-became. Based on the data analysed above, most of the participants answered the following statement with the past tense rather than present or past perfect tenses. For example:

5. It's so hot that I've drank three jugs of Coke already this afternoon.

9. He's never swam in the sea before.

However, the results above somehow showed the ambiguity among the participants' answers. There are two possibilities for the participants to make such mistakes. Firstly, the participants do not know the correct answer; secondly, the participants are getting confused between the irregular verbs of past participle "swam-swum" and "drank-drunk". They might think the word "swam" and "drank" are belongs to English past participle. As the researcher mentioned earlier, Fowler (1908), "the mistakes are sometimes made with the infinitive because they are often forgotten by people".

Therefore, based on the mistakes made by the Chinese educated students who majoring in English language respectively in UTAR, they are proved to have difficulties using irregularities of irregular verbs in English language. This phenomenon happened is because Chinese language is known as "no tense language" which means no inflections language. The way Chinese conveys meaning is through word order or adverbial which is totally contradictory with the English language that uses tenses, aspects, and so on.

On the other hand, the findings in the second section have explained what the underlying factors causing Chinese ESL learners making mistakes when using or forming past participle in English. A total of 73.3% of the undergraduates said "YES", while 26.7% of them answered "NO" to the statement of whether they use direct translation method to form English sentences into Chinese or vice versa, It is clearly indicates that majority of the Chinese ESL learners are undergoing the language transfer process.

To conclude, the Chinese ESL undergraduates in UTAR held different points of views to the statements being asked in the questionnaire. However, they sometimes shared the same opinions, such as they would firstly form the Chinese sentences before they produce English sentences because it helps them understand the target language better.

In the following chapter, Chapter Five, the researcher intends to present a summary of all the chapters which have been discussed previously. Then, the two research questions will be examined followed by the contribution of the study. After that, suggestions and recommendations for future research as well as the final conclusion will be presented by the researcher.

CHAPTER FIVE

CONCLUSION

5.1 INTRODUCTION

This chapter mainly presents a summary on the previous chapters as well as to put emphasis on the two research questions mentioned in Chapter One. Then, the researcher focuses on the contribution of the study to point out the significance of carrying out the study. Then, suggestions and recommendations for future research are discussed to help other researchers to set their goals for future investigation. Finally, a conclusion of this study is presented.

5.2 SUMMARY OF STUDY

Before independence, English was regarded as the medium of instruction used in Malaysia. However, in the nineteenth century, the language policy has changed. The government intended to have a common language spoken by all Malaysians whereby the national language would play an important role to unite all Malaysians under one roof. Since then, Bahasa Malaysia took over and any other language including Chinese, English or Tamil became L2 taught in all schools. Gradually, all second languages, especially Chinese and English became the most important L2 to be taught in all level of schools.

As a result, two perspectives have become the topics of discussion in Malaysia. This is significant as some researchers discover the two perspectives, which are (1) The conflicts between roles and functions of Chinese and English and (2) The grammar mistakes made by Chinese ESL learners during English learning process. The second point then justifies the reasons why the researcher would like to carry out this study. As mentioned earlier, many Chinese in Malaysia especially youths learn and speak English as their L2. Specifically, grammatical mistakes are then found by researchers among Chinese ESL learners. Therefore, in this research paper, the researcher is keen to investigate to what extent UTAR English majors are influenced by Mandarin when they form English past participle sentences.

On the other hand, native speakers who acquire English as their L1 might be unable to understand the sentence structure formed by Chinese ESL students. This may due to different language has different sentence structure and most importantly, different language has its own grammatical rules and systems. Next, majority of the Chinese ESL learners are found to use direct translation method to form English sentences which caused them making mistakes particularly from grammar perspective. As mentioned earlier, English grammar is known as the most difficult aspect to be mastered regardless natives or ESL learners during the English learning process.

Thus, the researcher was curious to find out the influences of Chinese mother tongue on Chinese educated students majoring in English Language in UTAR by answering the Elicited Production Task in questionnaire. The researcher then requires the participants to translate three Chinese sentences into English for in-depth analysis. Both Elicited Production Task and Translation Strategy are mainly used to analyze mistakes made by participants in past participles. The tables of percentages and frequency count were shown in each sub-section in Chapter Four for discussion.

Besides that, the researcher is also interested to know the underlying factors of Chinese educated students having difficulties in forming English past participles. A survey design was then carried out by the researcher to examine above matter. A total of four questions were set to enable the participants to provide their perspectives on the questionnaire. The participants were asked to answer "YES" or "NO" to the questionnaire and provide reasons for each of the statement. Later on, the results were calculated by the researcher to be shown in the columns to give profound explanations.

In the following section, the findings to both Research Questions are then discussed. Meanwhile, tables and columns of the findings could be found in Chapter Four for references.

5.3 DISCUSSION OF RESEARCH QUESTIONS

Two research questions are outlined for this study. The research is primarily employed quantitative research, the survey design which aims to answer both research questions.

5.3.1 RESEARCH QUESTION ONE AND DISCUSSION

The first research question formulated in Chapter One is displayed below:

To what extent the mistakes made by Chinese educated students majoring in English Language in UTAR are influenced by their Chinese mother tongue when they form past participle in English?

In Research Question One, the researcher plans to examine to what extent the final year Chinese ESL undergraduates are influenced by Mandarin when they form English past participle sentences. After analyzing Elicited Production Task, the researcher figured out an average of 46% past participle mistakes was found among the participants. By looking at the percentages, the researcher can safely concluded that UTAR Chinese educated undergraduates majoring in English language are having some difficulties in forming English past participle sentences. Translation Strategy, on the other hand, showed slightly better results that only 22.3% of sentences were translated wrongly by the participants.

Basically, these explain the motive and objective of the researcher to carry out the study. The researcher aims to analyze to what extent Chinese ESL undergraduates are influenced by their Chinese mother tongue when forming English past participle. The use of language needs to be studied in isolation but is always vital to look at how the language could affect people's lives. The results shown in Chapter Four clearly proved that Chinese educated background students majoring in English Language in UTAR were influenced by Mandarin from the aspect of sentence structure in forming English sentences.

In the subsequent section, the researcher will focus on Research Question Two to explore more regarding the underlying factors of Chinese undergraduates having difficulties in forming English past participles. Details will be discussed later.

5.3.2 RESEARCH QUESTION TWO AND DISCUSSION

The second research question of this study formed by the researcher is shown below:

What are the underlying factors of Chinese educated students having difficulties in forming English past participles?

In Research Question Two, the researcher would like to discover more about the underlying factors of Chinese educated background students majoring in English language in UTAR towards the mistakes made by them in forming past participles in English. Based on the results shown in the columns for each question in the previous chapter, participants commented differently towards the statements asked in questionnaire. Surprisingly, it is not everyone in tertiary level knows when to use past participle in English. As the result showed there is only 60% of Chinese ESL undergraduates answered "YES" to the statement. In their points of view, past participle is either has been forgotten or do not know what it is. That is why Chinese ESL students making mistakes when forming past participle sentences.

Besides that, most of the Chinese-speaking English majors shared the same opinion for the following statements:

When you are forming English sentences, do you directly translate the English sentences into Chinese sentences or vice versa?

Do you think your mother tongue which is Chinese language has influenced you in forming English sentences?

Both statements showed the same results. There were up to 70% of the participants agreed that their Chinese mother tongue was the main reason influenced the way they construct English sentences. The participants also admitted that they would use direct translation method to form Chinese sentences in their mind first and then only came out with the English sentences or vice versa.

After conducting the research, the researcher was surprised to discover two phenomena in this study. Firstly, the researcher would have assumed there should be no student who does not know what past participle is. However, the study found that there are still some students who have forgotten and do not really understand the function of past participle.

Secondly, the researcher has also assumed Chinese ESL learners would consider their Chinese mother tongue has greatly influenced their English (L2) learning process. The students are using direct translation strategy by firstly form Chinese sentences and then only come across the English sentences. To them, direct translation strategy is still considered as a useful tool to form and understand English sentences better, even though there are still a few participants disagree with the statement. However, it would be better if Chinese ESL learners could completely mastering and not solely memorizing English grammatical rules when learning English. It is because different language has different rules, forms, structures, patterns and so forth. As such, ESL learners are advice not to use direct translation method in forming sentences because particular language rules can only be used in that particular language and not others.

5.4 CONTRIBUTION OF STUDY

Platt and Weber (1980) draw our attention to the statement "In Singapore, the primary teacher may find an increasing number of children entering Primary One with some knowledge of English, the case in Malaysia would be opposite." They further elaborate that with Bahasa Malaysia as the main medium of instruction in Malaysia, the number of parents who would actually use English as the main medium in the home domain would be gradually reduced. Such phenomenon would lead more and more Malaysians grow to use Bahasa Malaysia and other dialects or languages in their daily lives. Also, English cannot be helped but only be influenced by the other languages to parents and teachers on the importance of acquiring English in their domain of national or international communications to compete with other advanced countries.

Again, Platt and Weber (1980) state that it is glad to know that some of the tertiary students had realized the significance of acquiring English in today's society. Some of the participants even commented the fact that they actually wish to speak the language (English) among their friends but sadly they are mainly Chinese educated and English proficiency is equivalent low as well. Hence, the students would only ended up speaking in broken English. Furthermore, the participants claimed that they have already get used to speak Mandarin among their Chinese friends. In other words, it means the level of self-esteem among students themselves are relatively low that has caused them feel weird if speak English with their Chinese friends. In shorts, the environment factor such as peer group pressure and individual self-esteem play significance influences to Chinese ESL learners throughout their English learning process.

To meet the educational purpose, the issue of standards is always regarded as imperative in Malaysian language-teaching and learning situations. It provides insights to both teachers and students to teach and learn Standard English Language in the classroom settings. Quirk acknowledges in Harris and Rampton's research (2003) "Many others in Britain have been dissatisfied with the teaching of English in British schools: dissatisfied with what is taught, how is taught, and the results of the teaching as they show in the capabilities of school level."

Such situation goes same in Malaysia schools. Many graduates and undergraduates in schools and even in university levels could only use grammar moderately, though English were taught since primary to secondary schools. However, being educated does not necessarily mean that one has the ability to use English grammar perfectly and accurately. Gill (2002) points out that in order to become pedagogical model of Standard English, teachers need to have good understanding and proficiency toward language to produce capable and competent future generations. Hence, in the researcher's opinion, this study could create awareness among teachers and students regarding importance of speaking and writing Standard English.

In fact, findings to this research question would also bring awareness to Chinese ESL students about importance of past participle in English. As it is not only concerning to grammatical rules but more importantly in relation to understanding. Undoubtedly, English past participle plays vital role to represent part of grammatical level to students. In addition, translation method helps students understand articles or sentences better. Nevertheless, every ESL learners always have to be aware of that Standard of English is needed for international communication such as conference, public speaking, and so forth.

Hence, to establish ourselves as Chinese undergraduates majoring in English Language in tertiary level, it is beneficial and compulsory to master English grammar completely as it is fundamental in English. In other words, it is a great advantage for ESL learners to be completely acquired English grammar so that they could communicate and write fluently in any situation.

5.5 SUGGESTIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FUTURE RESEARCH

In this study, the researcher has only managed to find out the mistakes made by Chinese ESL undergraduates as well as discovered the underlying factor of them making such mistakes. Hence, the researcher of this study would suggest to future researchers to include more other ethnics, including Malay and Tamil in their research to investigate the extent of their mother tongue influence them in forming past participles. Besides that, it would be interesting for future researchers to focus on other aspect of grammar, such as prepositions, transitional words and even vocabulary for a thorough investigation.

As brought up by the researcher in Chapter Three, all the participants involved in the questionnaires were only final year students. The main reason to have only Chinese educated final year students majoring in English Language was due to the researcher wants to find out whether the grammar level among undergraduates are poor or advanced. As the researcher personally found some undergraduates' English proficiency is relatively poor. Therefore, future researchers can actually comparing undergraduates from different years and courses regarding their English grammar, pronunciation, writing, code switch and so on.

Finally, the present study has only limited itself to investigate final year Chinese educated background students majoring in English Language in UTAR. In this case, future researchers could actually attempt on different level of students like students from China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Philippine and so forth who learn English as their L2. It would contribute to the world of research eventually.

5.6 CONCLUSION

Up to this point, the researcher has examined the two research questions outlined in this study. The past participle in English plays an important role to connect sentences and indicate time as well as aspect of when is an activity or event takes place or end. However, it would be beneficial for tertiary level students to acquire English grammar completely as undergraduates are always expected be able to speak and write English fluently.

As a whole, this study could create awareness among all Malaysians to be multilingual and multicultural to compete with the other developed countries. Thus, an analysis as such has contributed its parts to the education, the people as well as the country of Malaysia.

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APPENDICES

Appendix 1

Questionnaire: How do Chinese educated students form past participles in English?

Dear friends,

Do you know what and when to use past participle in English? Kindly answer the questions below to help me in my research. Your cooperation is highly appreciated.

Definitions:

Language transfer is the outcome of learner's second language (L2) learning that has been influenced from learner's first language (L1) or prior linguistic knowledge.

Section A: Personal Details/ Background Information

E.g.: Age : 17-20 ( )

21-24 ( )

25-28 ( )

Age : 17-20 ( )

21-24 ( )

25-28 ( )

Primary School:

Chinese School ( )

English School ( )

Malay School ( )

Others ______________________________________________________________

Secondary School:

Chinese School ( )

English School ( )

Malay School ( )

Others ______________________________________________________________

First Language (L1)/ Mother Tongue:

Mandarin ( )

English ( )

Malay ( )

Others ______________________________________________________________

Second Language (L2):

Mandarin ( )

English ( )

Malay ( )

Others ______________________________________________________________

Language/ Dialect that you speak the most:

Mandarin ( )

English ( )

Malay ( )

Others ______________________________________________________________

Overall English proficiency:

Excellent ( )

Good ( )

Moderate ( )

Poor ( )

Reason _____________________________________________________________

(E.g.: Because I seldom speak/ read English books)

Section B (1): Fill in the blanks with the correct answer.

I've never _______________ (feel) so good!

Joshua can't go skiing anymore. He has _______________ (break) his leg.

In the past few years, it has _______________ (become) more and more difficult to get into college.

She's getting married in a week, and she hasn't _______________ (choose) her dress yet.

It's so hot that I've _______________ (drink) three jugs of Coke already this afternoon.

We're late, the movie has already _______________ (begin).

The price of oil has _______________ (fall) rapidly since February.

Mr. Smith has _______________ (teach) English at V-Max for many years.

He's never _______________ (swim) in the sea before.

Someone has _______________ (steal) my jewellery!

Section B (2): Translate the following sentences into English sentences.

ba ba qu shang ban le.

____________________________________________________________________

na nan hai zhao dao ta de shou biao le.

____________________________________________________________________

ta men ba men suo le.

____________________________________________________________________

Section C: Open-ended Questions.

Do you know what past participle in English is?

Yes. What? __________________________________________________________

No. Why? ___________________________________________________________

Do you know when to use past participle in English? In which tense?

Yes. What? __________________________________________________________

No. Why? ___________________________________________________________

When you are forming English sentences, do you directly translate the English sentences into Chinese sentences or vice versa?

Yes. Why? __________________________________________________________

No. Why? ___________________________________________________________

Do you think your mother tongue which is Chinese language has influenced you in forming English sentences?

Yes. Why? __________________________________________________________

No. Why? ___________________________________________________________

Appendix 2

Table 4.6: Sample of Frequency Count o

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