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The L3 Acquisition of Definiteness and Specificity in Mandarin Chinese by English-Cantonese Bilinguals

Research Seminars on Chinese Linguistics & Chinese as a Second Language

汉语语言学与二语习得研讨会

Micahelmas Term, 2017

LogoThe Research Seminars on Chinese Linguistics and Chinese as a Second Language ("L2 Chinese") are held by the Chinese Linguistics and L2 Chinese research group of the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. The aim of these seminars is to provide a platform for researchers to discuss recent developments in the field, to present their work and to receive feedback from fellow researchers. The seminars are supervised by Dr Boping Yuan.

All are welcome!

  • Friday, 3rd November, 2017 in Room 9 at 4pm (ends at 6pm)
    The L3 Acquisition of Definiteness and Specificity in Mandarin Chinese by English-Cantonese Bilinguals
    Jingting Xiang

    The study of L3 acquisition (L3A) within formal linguistics perspectives is still in its infancy as compared with the decades of development in the study of L2 acquisition (L2A). L3 learners are confronted with a large number of representations from two different but co-existing grammars, so it requires both tenable L3 models and empirical data under strict control to trace their language development. For my Ph.D. project, I aim to find empirical evidence that will make a contribution to the models on L3A. By investigating a less-studied triad of English, Cantonese and Mandarin, I examine the differential learnability of properties related to the encoding of definiteness and specificity in noun phrases, and how L3 Mandarin develops under the influence of language typology, processing complexity, etc.

    In this seminar, I will present my design for the empirical study as well as make predictions about the influences of L1 and L2 on L3 under different models. The participants of this study are carefully selected monolingual, bilingual, and trilingual speakers, which include but are not limited to: 1) L1 English-L2 Cantonese-L3 Mandarin speakers, 2) L1 Cantonese-L2 English-L3 Mandarin speakers, 3) L1 English-L2 Mandarin speakers, and 4) monolingual speakers of Mandarin. They are asked to complete both online and offline tasks across a number of underlying properties.


For further information, contact:

Tongkun Liu (E-mail: )
PhD Student, Chinese Studies
Department of East Asian Studies