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ERIC Number: ED547587
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 259
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2674-5144-6
Investigating Chinese Speakers' Acquisition of Telicity in English
Yin, Bin
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Southern California
This dissertation is concerned with Chinese speakers' acquisition of telicity in L2 English. Telicity is a semantic notion having to do with whether an event has an inherent endpoint or not. Most existing work on L2 telicity is conceptualized within an L1-transfer framework and examines learning situations where L1 and L2 differ on whether and how the Direct Object plays a role in telicity computation (e.g., Slabakova 2000, 2001, 2005; Gabriele, 2010; Kaku-MacDonald, 2009). This dissertation is inspired by such prior work but explores additional issues by examining not only the role of the Direct Object, but also constructions where other elements in the sentence contribute to telicity, including the Goal PPs, Adjectival Resultatives, and the Locatum construction. A series of three sentence-rating experiments examined these constructions, and the results yield insights into the different factors affecting telicity acquisition: learnability (Chapter 2), transparency in form-meaning mapping (Chapter 3), and the role of underlying syntactic operations (Chapter 4). It was found that for native Mandarin speakers learning English, un-learning an L1-based but L2-incompatible telicity interpretation proved to be comparatively challenging, which can be attributed to the absence of negative evidence. Furthermore, even in situations where L1 and L2 do not differ in their telicity, participants were more likely to arrive at the correct telicity interpretation of a sentence in the L2 in situations where the construction encoding telicity was more transparent--in terms of its form-meaning mapping--than in situations where the construction was less so. Moreover, telicity was easier to learn when it was marked on the verb than when it was marked on the noun. Lastly, unlike what has been found for child learners (Hodgson, 2006, 2009, 2010), the L2 learners in this research did not show sensitivity to the differences between covert versus overt syntactic operations that are responsible for telicity computation. In sum, by investigating a wider range of constructions than has hitherto been examined, this dissertation shows that a multiplicity of factors (and not just the Direct Object) contribute to the acquisition of telicity. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A