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Title: The influence of the finite and non-finite distinction in the L1 on the acquisition and processing of multi-verb constructions in the L2 : a bidirectional study of Chinese learners of English and English learners of Chinese
Author: Tang, Mengmeng
ISNI:       0000 0004 7233 9820
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2018
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English and Chinese are typologically different in the composition of Multi-Verb Constructions (MVCs), which refer to a series of verbs appearing in a mono-clause, without pauses or conjunctions. English MVCs contain a finite verb which inflects with tense, combined with non-finite forms (e.g., The boss encouraged Jerry to attend the meeting). Chinese MVCs are in the form of bare verbs or verbs with aspectual morphemes (e.g., lǎobǎn gǔlì jié lǐ cānjiā huìyì, “boss encourage Jerry attend meeting”). This dissertation aims to explore whether and how these cross-linguistic differences influence L2 acquisition and processing. The results of the present research showed evidence of both morphological transfer of using bare verbs, and syntactic transfer of over-inflecting non-finite verbs in Chinese ESL (English as Second Language) learners’ written production. Further cross-linguistic evidence was found in their online lack of sensitivity to over-inflected non-finite verbs in self-paced-reading tasks, which was more prominent in learners of lower L2 proficiency. In contrast, no L1 influence was found in their explicit knowledge of finite and non-finite distinctions as tested via grammaticality judgment tasks. In the bidirectional study using the same research methods, the syntactic transfer occurred in the form of mis-positioned aspectual markers. It appears that English CSL (Chinese as Second Language) learners tended to equate the aspectual marker to the tense marker and to, therefore, comprehend the multiple verbs in Chinese MVCs in accordance with the cue of finite and non-finite distinctions as they would in their L1, English. They were also less sensitive to various salient lexical cues in interpreting the interrelations of the multiple verbs.
Supervisor: Roberts, Leah ; Vanek, Norbert Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available