Acquisition of English Tense and Aspect Translation Competence by Behdini Students: An Experimental Study

Shivan Toma, Mahdi Saddiq


This study is an attempt to investigate the acquisition of translation competence of the English tense and aspect system by Behdini learners who are students at the Translation Department at the College of Languages in the University of Duhok. This paper is an experimental study that adopts the Translation Competence Acquisition model. There are many morphological and syntactic differences between English and Behdini tense and aspect and there are differences in terms of the usage of the tense and aspect between the two mentioned languages too. A Judgement Elicitation Task is employed as a tool to collect data in this study. 4o English sentences with their translations into Behdini are included in this task. Behdini learners are asked to make their judgements on each translated sentence. These test items are a mixture of four tenses: present continuous, present perfect, past continuous, and past perfect. Two subgroups of learners are involved in this study: the senior subgroup and the fresher subgroup in an attempt to investigate the effect of participants’ English language level and proficiency. Mixed-effects modeling has been used for analysing the data statistically. The lmer package (version is 3.3.1) has been employed with logit link function and binomial variance for the judgement data in R, which is an open-source language and environment for statistical computing. The main hypothesis of the study is that Behdini learners are not expected to attain a complete translation competence regarding the English tense and aspect system due to the differences between the two languages. The main results of the study show that while Behdini learners were able to attain a good translation competence in terms of accepting the grammatical translations, they failed to reject the ungrammatical translations. These findings implicate that Behdini learners’ acquisition of translation competence is not attained fully. It is also shown that Behdini students at lower proficiency levels employ their L1 grammar as the first stage of their translation process, but at later stages of proficiency parameter resetting becomes more possible.


Translation Competence, Acquisition of Translation Competence, Behdini, Tense, Aspect, Translation Evaluation, Acceptability Judgement

Full Text:



Alsalmi, M. (2013) Tense and Aspect Acquisition in L2 English by Native speakers of Arabic. AWEJ, 4(2), Pp.270-282

Baayen RH, Davidson DJ, Bates DM. (2008). Mixed-effects modeling with crossed random effects for subjects and items. Journal of Memory and Language, 59, 390–412.

Campbell, S. (1991) Towards a model of translation competence. Meta, 36(2-3), 329-343.

Campbell, S. (1998) Translation into the Second Language. London and New York: Longman.

Cao, D. (1996) Towards a model of translation proficiency. Target, 8(2), 325-340.

Castillo, L. M. (2015). Acquisition of translation competence and translation acceptability: An experimental study. The International Journal for Translation & Interpreting Research. DOI: ti.106201.2015.a07. 72- 85.

Fabricius-Hansen. (2006). "Tense", in the Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, 2nd ed.

Howard, M. & Leclercq, P. (2017). Tense, aspect and modality in Second Language Acquisition: An overview. In M. Howard & P. Leclercq (Eds.), Tense-aspect-modality in a Second Language. Contemporary perspectives (pp. 1–25). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Hurtado Albir, A. (2015). The acquisition of translation competence. Competences, tasks, and assessment in translator training. Meta, 60(2), 256–280. doi:10.7202/1032857ar

PACTE (2003). “Building a Translation Competence Model”. In: Alves, F. (ed.). Triangulating Translation: Perspectives in Process Oriented Research, Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Schwartz, B. D., & SPROUSE, R. A. (1996). L2 cognitive states and the full transfer/full access model. Second Language Research, 12(1), 40–72.

Slabakova, R. (2009). What Is Easy and What Is Hard to Acquire in a Second Language? In Proceedings of the 10th Generative Approaches to Second Language Acquisition Conference (GASLA 2009), ed. Melissa Bowles et al., 280-294. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project.

New, B., Brysbaert, M., Veronis, J. & Pallier, C. (2007). The use of film subtitles to estimate word frequencies. Applied Psycholinguistics, 28, 661-677.

Zaxoyî, I. R. (1998). Rêziman A Kurdî (Kurdish Grammar). The University of Duhok Press.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2010-2023 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD.

Advances in Language and Literary Studies

You may require to add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list’ If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox'. Otherwise, you may check your 'Spam mail' or 'junk mail' folders.