ERIC Number: ED233579
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Jul
Reference Count: 0
Topic-Comment Structure and Grammatical Subject in First Language Acquisition of Mandarin Chinese: A Study of Equi-Constructions.
Chien, Yu-Chin; Lust, Barbara
Although Mandarin Chinese is a topic-prominent language, it is shown that young children acquiring Chinese as their first language access the concept of grammatical subject as well as that of topic. A total of 95 children aged 2-5 years acquiring Mandarin Chinese as their first language were tested on sentences involving equi-constructions. It was hypothesized that if children were sensitive to the presence of a grammatical subject, they would distinguish topic and subject in the equi-constructions. The results confirmed that Chinese children distinguish the concepts of subject and topic and that they access the grammatical category of subject as well as the semantic category of topic. It is concluded that even for a highly topic oriented language like Chinese, children acquiring a first language have some sensitivity to formal grammatical concepts as well as semantic or pragmatic ones. (RW)
Descriptors: Child Language, Grammar, Language Acquisition, Mandarin Chinese, Semantics, Sentence Structure, Young Children
PRCLD, Department of Linguistics, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305 ($12.00)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Stanford Univ., CA. Dept. of Linguistics.
Note: In its: Papers and Reports on Child Language Development, Volume 22, p74-82, July 1983. Paper presented at the Annual Stanford Child Language Research Forum (14th, Stanford, CA, March 1983).