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Variability in the Second language learners’ acquisition of verb morphology by Shona speakers of English: a developmental analysis.

Muzi Mlambo


This article seeks to make a developmental study of variability in the acquisition of verb morphology by second language (L2) pupils who learn at an English input impoverished school where variability in learner language is often presumed to be quite extensive.  By studying variability in such settings, it is hoped that not only will its non-variability nature be made quite explicit, but also, we can gain considerable insights into the nature of the process of second language acquisition (SLA) itself.  Most studies in variability have been product oriented and cross – sectional because they focus on the study of linguistic features at particular points in time. This study differs from those product oriented studies because it is process oriented and examines linguistic phenomena not just at particular points in time but also, overtime.  The study of variability also enables us to have a fuller understanding of both learner internal mechanisms as well as the inner logic for the language learners’ grammar.


Keywords: Variability, systematic, vertical, horizontal.