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CFL learners' productions of relative clauses with demonstratives: From theory to empirical research

Yi Xu

Abstract: Relative clauses (RCs), with their typological universality and structural complexity, have always been central to inquiries in generative linguistics and language acquisition. Although recent years witness a growing interest in psycholinguistic and acquisition research in Chinese RCs, few studies have attempted to make connections between psycholinguistic theories and Chinese as a second language learning and teaching. This paper tries to bridge the gap and uses an interdisciplinary approach to address the comparative difficulty of Chinese subject and object RCs in their interaction with demonstratives. Chinese L1 and L2 participants completed a written sentence completion task. More productions in a certain type of RC, when observed in both participant groups, were interpreted as evidence of structural preference, and differences between L1 and L2 patterns were analyzed as competence issues. It was found that both groups prefer subject RCs when the structure begins with a demonstrative, and this result corresponds to corpus studies of Chinese RCs as well as findings in previous acquisition research. At the same time, there was no asymmetry between the subject and object RCs produced when the demonstrative follows the RC. A multi-constraint model in which a “perspective” factor (MacWhinney 1977, 1982, MacWhinney and Pleh 1988) and a word order factor simultaneously contribute to production cost can explain the data. Meanwhile, L2 participants' errors were often related to neglecting the obligatory gap within the RC. Pedagogical implications were put forward.

Keywords: Chinese relative clauses; demonstrative; structural preference; psycholinguistic theory; learner errors

 

Effect of home background on advanced heritage language learning

Yun Xiao

Abstract: Using a detection test and an essay writing task, this study investigates the effect of home background on Chinese heritage language (CHL) learning and attainment at the advanced level. By examining the participants' use of target morphological marker le and discourse features, the study shows that, compared with their non-HL counterparts, advanced college CHL learners used the morphological marker le more frequently and more appropriately, and older CHL arrivals performed better than younger arrivals. Results of the essay writing task show that, compared with their non-HL counterparts, the older CHL arrivals did significantly better, while the younger arrivals did marginally better. The data support previous findings that early exposure to a language has undeniable positive effect on subsequent learning and that immigrant HL learners' age of arrival is an important indicator of attainment of competence at the advanced level.

Keywords: home background; discourse device; topic chain; zero pronouns; Chinese heritage-language students; non-heritage-language students; birth place; arrival age; language exposure

 

Acquiring the pitch patterns of L2 Mandarin Chinese

Chunsheng Yang

Abstract: This study examines the acquisition of utterance-level pitch patterns in Mandarin Chinese by American second language (L2) learners. It is an exploratory study with the goal of identifying the utterance-level prosody in L2 Mandarin Chinese. The focus of this study is not on the pitch patterns of individual learners but those of subject groups. The analysis shows that the pitch patterns between two syntactic structures for the same tone sequence vary with the tone sequence and the subject group. The biggest difference between first language (L1) and L2 Mandarin Chinese lies in the frequency of target undershoot in L2 speech. The infrequent tone target undershoot in L2 speech, especially among the intermediate learners, was attributed to the incomplete acquisition of L2 prosody. It was argued that the infrequent tone target undershoot may render L2 speech more staccato or robot-like, which contributes to the perception of a foreign accent in L2 Mandarin Chinese.

Keywords: prosody acquisition; Mandarin Chinese; L2 learners; F0; tones; tone target undershoot

 

副连兼类虚词的语法化顺序和习得顺序—以“不过”和“只是”为例

高顺全

提要:文章以“只是”和“不过”两个副连兼类虚词为例讨论从语法化的角度解释和预测习得顺序。首先对它们的语法化顺序进行了描述,并据此构拟出其可能的习得顺序,然后利用中介语语料库对它们的习得情况做了详细的描写。结果发现,“只是”的习得顺序和语法化顺序一致,“不过”的习得顺序与其历时发展顺序不一致,但与其主观性程度顺序一致。“只是”和“不过”可能代表着兼类虚词语法化顺序和习得顺序关系的两种类型。

关键词:兼类虚词; “只是”; “不过”; 语法化顺序; 习得顺序

 

从形容词看现代汉语词类系统的主要特征

陈刚

提要:跨语言的调查表明,和其他主要词类相比形容词的词类问题最为复杂。现代汉语形容词词类身份尚存较大争议。本文以名、动、形、副为词类研究框架,认为现代汉语的形容词是个柔性程度很高的词类,它与其他主要词类之间存在两种包含关系,即词类包含和功能包含,这些都为解释形容词的句法功能提供新的启示。此外,从名、动、形的重叠能力来看,汉语首先区分的是大名词和状词,而且这两者都具有指称性,因此汉语中体词和谓词的区别并不显得那么重要。

关键词:词类系统; 形容词; 柔性; 句法功能

 

 从修纳语音高看汉语声调偏误

Herbert Mushangwe

提要:本文通过实验对汉语与修纳语的声调(音高)进行了对比分析,旨在为以修纳语为母语的汉语学习者及教师提供参考。对修纳语音高进行声学实验,结果发现,虽然汉语和修纳语的语调看起来有相似之处,但在调值上是不同的。本文还分析了以修纳语为母语者的声调偏误问题,并在此基础上简要地提出了汉语教学中应该重视的问题。我们认为,教师可以通过一些修纳语的词作为参照给学生解释汉语和修纳语的声调异同,从而使学生意识到自己的声调偏误及其出现的原因。初次之外,本文还建议,在汉语教学中可以使用praat软件为学生提供声调发音的图片,让学生通过图片上的调形直观地感受到他们的与声调有关的发音问题。

关键词:汉语; 修纳语; 音高/声调; 声调偏误; 汉语教学

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