The effect of types of the tasks on the using objective marker “Ra” in the writing tasks of non-Persian Farsi learners

Document Type : Research Paper


1 PhD student in General Linguistics.Department of Linguistics,LiteratureFaculty,ShahidBeheshti University, Tehran, Iran.

2 Associate Professor of Linguistics, Shahid Beheshti University

3 Associate Professor of General Linguistics.Department of Linguistics, Literature and Foreign Languages Faculty, AllamehTabataba’i University, Tehran, Iran.



Factors such as discourse context, social characteristics of the speaker, language attitudes, and processability of learners on their levels influence a speaker’s use of a particular form. Some researches show that different tasks elicited different types of forms learners. In this study, we try to investigate the type’s influence of task on “Ra” (preposition for direct object in Persian language) and analysis that based on processability theory. The goal of this investigation is to determine similarities and differences between marked and unmarked nouns before using Ra in two types of tasks; conversational task and explanatory task. For doing this, we consider 35 conversational task and 35 explanatory task from level 6 Persian learners of Almahdi’s School. First of all we determine data of marked and unmarked nouns before Ra in these two types of task and label them. Then we show the frequency and distribution of each feature in these two types of tasks, finally we compare distribution of nouns (whether marked or unmarked specific nouns) in conversational tasks and explanatory tasks. The result of this research shows there is no a significant difference between marked and unmarked nouns in each task and between using specific nouns before Ra in these two types of tasks. It can be explainable this result based on processability and due to the level of the learners.
Extended Abstract:
1. Introduction
The present study intends to investigate the effect of task on the language variation of Persian learners. Previous studies have been conducted on the effect of task type on linguistic variation of language learners. These studies show that language learners produce different language forms in performing different tasks. The present study examines the above topic in relation to the postposition "Ra" in Persian language in the writing tasks of Farsi learners. The purpose of this study is to identify the similarities and differences in the use of this element (the "Ra" marker after a definite object) in two different types of tasks (compositional task, and conversational task). On the one hand, we want to examine how this is used in terms of the object being labeled marked or unmarked, and on the other hand, compares and analyzes this topic in these two types of tasks. Thus, according to what has been said, the questions of this research are:
(1) What is the distribution of specific marked and unnamed nouns in the position before the direct object marker in the extracted data in the conversational task?
(2) What is the distribution of specific marked and unnamed nouns in the position before the direct object marker in the extracted data in the compositional task?
 (3) What is the difference between the distribution of specific marked and unnamed nouns in the position before the direct object marker in the extracted data in these two types of tasks?
2. Review of literature
One of the most famous studies on the effect of task on the language output of language learners has been done by Taron and Parish (1988). They identified differences in the type of nominal groups produced by the learners, which were derived from two different tasks and related to their grammatical accuracy. they explained the importance of linguistic analysis of different language maps for a single language form in a variety of tasks. Other groups of studies have studied the stages of language learning with the approach of language processing and using the results of studies that have been done in the field of linguistic variation in the past.
3. Theoretical Foundation
We choose Processability as theoretical foundation for this study. This is a formally approach that predicts what structures can be processed by the learner at a given level. This predictive capacity provides the basis for a coordinated framework that can explain a wide range of phenomena related to linguistic evolution. Data analysis in this approach can be done repeatedly. Obviously, a set of researches related to learning any language in both longitudinal and in a period of time, can clarify the learning patterns in learners of that language.
4. about “Ra”
As mentioned in the introduction, in this study, we will examine how to use the postposition "Ra" (direct object marker in Persian) in written texts of Persian learners in two different types of tasks. To this end, in this section, we list the various cases after which the presence of "Ra" is required. After determining the required cases of the presence of "Ra" based on previous research, we have divided these cases into two groups. The first group are cases in which an object before "Ra" is marked in some way. In total, 10 items are labeled as marked nouns in this study. The second group in our classification includes nouns that do not have a specific feature with the direct object position, and in this study, we have classified them under unmarked nouns. These nouns can only be identified by a linguistic or situational context as a definite noun, and it is not possible to determine whether they are definite or indefinite without regard to context.
5. Results of data analysis
Regarding the first question of this research, that is, how to distribute specific marked and unnamed nouns in the position before the direct object marker, there is no significant difference in the conversational task. Also, in relation to the second question of the research, that is, how to distribute specific marked and unnamed nouns in the position before the direct object marker, a similar result can be observed in the compositional task. The third question of this research was dedicated to comparing how to use specific nouns, both marked and unmarked, in the two types of tasks. In this case, too, no significant difference was observed in the use of specific nouns in these two types of tasks. This issue in processability can be explained according to the language level of Persian learners. In processability, different learning pathways eventually reach a stable stage in which language forms are considered relatively established. Comparing the results of such studies with the present study on how to produce "Ra" during the Persian learning process for this particular category will give us a complete insight into the learning process.


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