Vol. 1,No. 3, September 2011

Author(s): Kamal Shayegh, Nasser Hassanzadeh, Frideh Hoseini

Abstract: In functional approach to interpersonal metafunction, Halliday defines clause as a unit of exchange, with two main constituents called Mood and Residue. Mood is composed of Subject and Finite. Subject is invested with modal responsibility whereas finite realizes primary tense and modality. Residue includes predicator, complement and adjunct. Secondary tense is expressed throughout predicator while Complement and adjunct just add additional but unnecessary information to clause meaning. Derived from theoretical framework outlined above, present research tries its best to determine a kind of agreement between primary and secondary tenses in gender talk of ELT classrooms and its relation to bilingual language learners’ proficiency in their foreign language learning. About twelve hours of oral conversation between students and teachers from eight randomly selected classrooms are recorded and transcribed, resulting to 3288 clauses. Our findings show that both genders use simple present tense as primary one in their talks with high frequency to refer to events happening in present. It is found out that simple present tense is used much more for holding an unmarked grammatical structure; whereas using other temporal structures desire much more grammatical competence and subsequently are used with low frequency. This may result into students’ non-proficiency in grammar skill, making them use different and also wrong tenses in different given temporal situations in high levels of foreign language learning.

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