Files in this item



application/pdf9010900.pdf (10MB)Restricted to U of Illinois
(no description provided)PDF


Title:Language universals, language typology and L2 acquisition: A cross-sectional study of adult English speakers learning Chinese
Author(s):Jin, Hong Gang
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Saville-Troike, Muriel
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Language, Linguistics
Education, Educational Psychology
Abstract:This study is an attempt to integrate the theories of language universals, language typology, and markedness with interlanguage (IL) phenomena, specifically those relating to the process of acquiring Chinese as a second language. The central question addressed is whether or not a composite theory of universals and typological parameters can account for IL process in terms of developmental patterns, learning difficulty, and possibility of transfer.
A total of 86 subjects who are native speakers of English learning Chinese as a second language participated in the two studies. Four tasks were used in order to measure the Ss' overall performance on Chinese word order (core and peripheral), Chinese aspect marking, Chinese topic-comment structures, and the pragmatic functions of Chinese ba, jiu, and cai. The ultimate purpose of the tests was to examine the effect of parameter setting with regard to head-initial/head-final, topic-prominent/subject-prominent, and pragmatically governed word order/grammatically governed word order, and lexical/inflectional marking.
The findings of this study indicate that second language acquisition is influenced by language universals, language typology, markedness hierarchy, as well as cognitive processes and strategies such as transfer, overgeneralization, and simplification. Evidence from the pragmaticization in Chinese L2 acquisition indicates the different stages learners go through in setting a semantic-pragmatic framework from sentence and discourse interpretation. The relative difficulty of this process supports Givon's (1979) claims for the effects of L1 on L1 syntacticization processes and contradicts the claim by Fuller and Gundel (1987) for a universal topic-comment stage in interlanguage. Finally, it is shown that transfer and other learning processes may not appear in surface-level comparisons, but at a more abstract level of linguistic analysis. Interlanguage studies should use investigative procedures which use typological differences between L1 and L2 as a basic point of departure. (Abstract shortened with permission of author.)
Issue Date:1989
Rights Information:Copyright 1989 Jin, Hong Gang
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9010900
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9010900

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Item Statistics