Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Education Honours


School of Education


Western Australian College of Advanced Education


This study is based on Selinker's (1972, revised 1988) paper which describes the construct of interlanguage. Selinker claimed that the learner's interlanguage could be accounted for on the basis of three psycholinguistic processes and two strategies. He demonstrated how the operation of these processes and strategies could be inferred from the data of the learner's interlanguage performance in relation to the relevant first and second language systems, The processes and strategies identified by Selinker were: the processes of language transfer, overgeneralization and transfer of training, and the strategies of second language learning and second language communication. Selinker's claims relate to interlanguage behaviour overall, that is, production and reception. His work and that of others, however, focusses largely on production, There has been little attempt to systematically investigate the receptive behaviour of inter language speakers with a view to determining the relevance or otherwise to it o~ the five processes and strategies. This study attempts to develop procedures for observing the receptive behaviour of an interlanguage speaker and seeks to determine whether the five processes and strategies described by Selinker also underlie this aspect of language behaviour. The study examines the receptive behaviour of a Chinese interlanguage speaker, The receptive behaviour is taken to be evidenced in responses made to the speech of a native English speaker. Primary data comes from three tasks which are designed to elicit response. Each requires the subject 'to reproduce target language input. The first task is the word by word reproduction of a tape prose passage, the second, the reproduction of verb forms and the the third, the reproduction of the content of a passage where the focus is on communication. Secondary data comes from introspective comments by the subject about his response to the tasks analysis, Both sets of data are used in analysis of the data shows that the tasks devised are capable of eliciting responses in which receptive behavior may be observed, and that t:he behaviour exhibits the five processes and strategies also observed by Selinker and others in interlanguage reduction. This finding has implications for second language teaching practice. These are briefly examined.