Competition between V₂ of RVC and Verb-Final Le in L2 Learners' Mandarin Interlanguage
English Resultative Construction
East Asian Studies
Committee ChairLiu, Feng-hsi
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis study aims to explore how English-speaking learners of Chinese acquire Resultative Verb Compounds (RVC). The specific research questions are: Do learners think that change of state is achieved by using an RVC? Do learners assign resultative meaning to V₁-le uniformly or only in certain types of situations depending on how result is expressed in their L1? Lastly, do learners realize that RVCs are a highly productive construction? This thesis provides linguistic analysis that can account for differences in how change of state is expressed in Chinese and English. It also presents a second language acquisition study informed primarily by the sentence acceptability judgement task. In English, result is typically expressed by a monomorphemic verb or by a resultative construction. In Mandarin, the most typical way to convey result is to use RVCs. In addition to differences in such phenomena as event conflation, strength of implicature and the incompleteness effect also constitute key differences between English and Mandarin. It is claimed that the major factor in determining the effect of L1 transfer from English to Mandarin is how change-of-state situations are expressed in English. In response, two experiments were conducted. The subjects were 47 learners and 26 native speakers of Chinese. Statistical analysis (ANOVA) was applied in evaluating outcomes of the experiments. The results show that learners understand that RVCs must be used to describe change-of-state situations. However, learners do not habitually take the aspect marker–le as a resultative marker. Instead, the outcomes of the data analysis are compatible with the interpretation of–le as a past tense marker. The analysis also shows that how change-of-state situations with respect to event conflation are expressed in English has some effect on their understanding of RVC-le vs. V₁-le combinations. Lastly, while learners do not reject the idea that more than one RVC can describe a change-of-state event, they do not have full understanding of this phenomenon.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
East Asian Studies