skip to primary navigationskip to content

Elliptical Constructions in L2 Chinese Grammers (Part 1)

Research Students' Seminars on Second Language Chinese

Elliptical Constructions in L2 Chinese Grammers (Part 1)

Sluicing, VP-ellipsis and Argument-ellipsis in English and Japanese speakers' L2 Chinese grammars

The first seminar of 2013-14 Michaelmas Term will take place on Friday, 1st November, in Room 7 at the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. The speaker will be Lulu Zhang, who will present her PhD project on Elliptical Constructions in L2 Chinese Grammars (see abstract below). The seminar starts at 3.30pm and ends at 5.30pm.

The Research Students' Seminars on Chinese as a Second Language are held by the L2 Chinese research group of the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. The aim of these seminars is to provide research students with a platform to discuss recent development in the field, to present their research work and to receive feedback from teaching staff and fellow students. The seminars are supervised by Dr Boping Yuan.

All are welcome!


My ongoing Ph.D. research aims to examine elliptical constructions in English and Japanese-speaking learners' second language (L2) Chinese grammars, in order to find out whether L2 Chinese learners are able to attain native-like knowledge of these constructions and whether they are able to integrate the syntactic knowledge and discourse information in off-line and on-line tasks. This presentation will show the theoretical framework, research questions and tasks will be used in the experiment of my current project.

The term ellipsis refers to a common family of constructions in which a part is invisible but still has meaning (Adger 2003). (Mandarin) Chinese has an abundance of elliptical constructions, and the current research will focus on three of the best-investigated instances- sluicing, VP-ellipsis and the argument-ellipsis. However, not every language allows all these three structures. English disallows the null-argument construction while Japanese VP-ellipsis. Based on the cross-linguistic differences between elliptical constructions in Chinese, English and Japanese, the current project aims to examine the elliptical constructions in English- and Japanese-speaking learners' L2 Chinese grammars, and also to investigate whether L2 Chinese learners are able to deal with elliptical sentences as native speakers. In the experiment both off-line and on-line tests will be used to test the L2 learners' mental representation and the real-time processing of the constructions in question. In particular, the experiment consists of four tasks: an off-line sentence completion judgement task, an off-line picture matching judgement task, an on-line self-paced reading task and a backward digit recall span task.

Owing to that the collection of data is still in progress, data analysis and discussion will not be included in the presentation, in which the theoretical framework, the research questions and experiment design of the study, will be the main focus.

For further information, contact:

Lulu Zhang
PhD Student, Chinese Studies
Department of East Asian Studies