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Title: Grammatical development among Chinese L2 learners : from a processability account
Author: Wang, Xiaojing
ISNI:       0000 0004 2729 9487
Awarding Body: University of Newcastle Upon Tyne
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2011
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This study is to investigate the second language acquisition of Chinese grammatical structures by eight Chinese L2 learners. Adopting the theoretical framework of Professor Manfred Pienemann’s Processability Theory (PT), this study focuses on the confirmation and extension of the developmental sequence of the grammatical items found by Zhang (2001 and 2008) and Gao (2005). In essence, this study employed a longitudinal and cross-sectional design. Eight Chinese L2 students from the undergraduate Chinese programme at Newcastle University have been voluntarily selected to join my study. These eight students have a variety of language learning experience and backgrounds, but most importantly (different from other PT-based studies), they have been taught using a completely different textbook and curriculum when compared with the PT-driven developmental sequence. The interviews (elicitation tasks and free talk) were carried out on a regular basis over one academic year. Data was then transcribed and grammatical features tagged. Data analysis was performed through distributional analysis which detailed the linguistic environment of each grammatical item across the PT stages. Emergence criterion has been stipulated and applied to locate the acquisition point of each form. At the same time, a further textbook analysis has been conducted to identify the relationship between the instructions and natural acquisition stages. The results have shown that the overall grammatical progression in the subjects’ interlanguage was compatible with the processing hierarchy hypothesized in the PT, regardless of the learners’ first language and language learning experience. Moreover, the acquisition patterns are never altered by the teaching instruction; instead, the acquisition speed has been somehow influenced by the teaching instruction and other factors. One issue which should be addressed is the exceptional cases identified in the study, which require further work in this area. Apart from that, the research has also shown that the adequate tasks are required in language teaching and grammatical structure elicitation. Therefore, four tasks have been designed and tested across the proposed Chinese processing hierarchy for the benefit of Chinese L2 learners.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available