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The Processing of Mandarin Chinese Reflexives among Adult L2 Learners and Heritage Speakers

Research Seminars on Chinese Linguistics & Chinese as a Second Language


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, 24th November, 2017 in Room 8 at 3pm (ends at 5pm)
    The Processing of Mandarin Chinese Reflexives among Adult L2 Learners and Heritage Speakers 
    Manyun Liu

    Bilingualism comes in many different forms and shapes, and two of the most interesting cases are heritage speakers and second language learners. Some studies suggest that heritage speakers are significantly more native-like than adult second language learners in linguistic areas like phonology (Au et al., 2002) and morphosyntax (Montrul, 2010), and the question is still open as to whether the two bilingual groups would differ significantly in the processing of linguistic representations.

    This study tests the Shallow Structure Hypothesis (SSH) (Clahsen and Felser, 2006) among L2 Chinese learners and Chinese heritage speakers through a self-paced reading task using mandarin reflexive sentences like Zhang xiansheng renwei Li xiaojie xihuan taziji de pengyou (taziji = 'herself', 'Mr. Zhang thinks that Ms. Li likes her own friends.'). The results suggest that heritage speakers of Mandarin Chinese pattern with L2 learners in processing those sentences, and that adult L2 learners' computation of representations during processing, and probably heritage speakers' as well, contains not necessarily less but obviously non-native-like syntactic details.

For further information, contact:

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