Chinese Foreign Language Attrition: Investigating Aspect Marker Usage
AuthorPaul, Michael A.
Committee ChairLiu, Feng-hsi
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe purpose of this study is to investigate the effect that rote memorization has on language attrition. More specifically, the loss of grammatical aspect markers is investigated. This study measures the general language attrition of a memorized narrative and an open-ended narrative between time one (T1) and time two (T2) measurements. Attrition of the memorized narrative at T2 is compared to how well the subject had it memorized it at T1. The attrition of aspect is then investigated in both the memorized narratives and open-ended narratives. Aspect marker attrition in the memorized narratives is also compared to how well the subject originally had the narrative memorized at T1. Aspect attrition is then compared between the memorized and open-ended narratives to see the effect of memorization on aspect attrition. Lastly, a qualitative investigation examines the effect of telicity on correct and incorrect aspect marking. This study reveals that learners of Chinese who spend time in a Chinese-speaking environment and gain a fairly high level of oral proficiency retain much of their oral production abilities over a 12-year period. Additionally, subjects are able to retain and use syntax and lexicon from narratives they had previously memorized as beginning-level learners. However, significant levels of content and length attrition occur for both types of narratives. Aspect marker -LE is used the most frequently, but it also has the highest percentage rate of error. Other aspect markers are used less frequently, and have lower percentage rates of error. Attrition in type, variety, and usage of aspect markers is significant between T1 and T2. There is not a significant relationship between how well the subjects produced the memorized narrative at T1 and either their performance at T2 or the attrition of aspect markers in either narrative. The subjects tend to mark telic verbs for perfective aspect more frequently and correctly than atelic verbs. Pedagogical implications of this study include suggestions for teaching perfective aspect as well as designing curriculum for students who are re-learning Chinese. Finally, the author invites further attrition research focusing on the effect of memorization on fluency variables.
Degree ProgramEast Asian Studies