Topic Prominence in Japanese EFL Students’ Existential Constructions

Miyuki Sasaki*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


This paper investigates Japanese speakers’ interlanguage constructions of English existential sentences with a locative sentential topic. Written sentences produced by four different levels of learners were compared. The investigation focuses on the following two issues: (1) the effect of learners’ proficiency level on the degree of topic prominence in a relatively free writing task (Test 1) and (2) the effect of elicitation on production of target‐like constructions (i.e., the subject‐predicate structure) in a controlled writing task (Test 2). The results of Test 1 indicate that there was a general shift from topic‐comment to subject‐predicate structures as the students’ proficiency increases. Interactions were also observed between the degree of topic‐prominence and the location of the sentence in the students’ writing tasks. The results of Test 2 suggest that although some students did not use the target‐like structure in Test 1, this does not mean that they cannot use it under other conditions. The implications of these results are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-367
Number of pages31
JournalLanguage Learning
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1990 Sep
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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