Thai EFL Students’ Ability to use the Gerund and To-infinitive

By Patchanok Kitikanan.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Many studies have shown that verbal complements are difficult to acquire for both native and non-native speakers, especially for non-native speakers whose first language is dissimilar to the target language. The objectives of this study are to investigate the levels of proficiency in using infinitives with to-infinitive and gerunds with complement-taking verbs, and to find the factors affecting these abilities of Thai university students who study English as a Foreign Language (EFL). Questionnaires with twenty-eight Fill-in-the-Blank questions, 14 questions for testing gerund and the other 14 for testing to-infinitive–were administered to 108 participants. The participants were also asked to explain the reasons for their answers. The results showed that their mean scores of both gerund and to-infinitive were quite low–5.09 for to-infinitive and 7.38 for gerund, each out of 14–implying that many participants have not acquired sufficient ability to use these verbal complements. Regarding the factors of these results, it was found that overgeneralization, first language transfer and translation strategy are negative transfers which contributed to these low levels of proficiency. Regarding positive transfer, there were three main factors: transfer of training, third language transfer and translation strategy. Hopefully, this study will be beneficial for English instructors in teaching and understanding what factors affect their verbal complement acquisition.

Keywords: Gerund, To-infinitive, Thai Students, EFL

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp.279-290. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 858.475KB).

Patchanok Kitikanan

Lecturer, English Section, Humanities Faculty, Naresuan University, Muang, Phitsanulok, Thailand

Patchanok Kitikanan is a faculty member at Naresuan University in Phitsanulok, Thailand. She has graduated with first-class honors in B.A. in English from Chiang Mai Univeristy and M.A. in Linguistics from Naresuan University, Thailand. At this present, she is working as an English teacher for undergraduate students. Her areas of interest are Second Language Acquisition, Psycholinguistics, and Syntax.

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