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ERIC Number: EJ776015
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 29
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 41
ISSN: ISSN-0267-6583
Japanese Speakers' Second Language Chinese Wh-Questions: A Lexical Morphological Feature Deficit Account
Yuan, Boping
Second Language Research, v23 n3 p329-357 2007
In this article, an empirical study of how Chinese wh-questions are mentally represented in Japanese speakers' grammars of Chinese as a second language (L2) is reported. Both Chinese and Japanese are generally considered "wh-in-situ" languages in which a wh-word is allowed to remain in its base-generated position, and both languages use question particles to mark questions. It is assumed that C[superscript 0] in wh-questions is essentially ambiguous and unvalued and that unvalued C[superscript 0] must be valued. In Chinese, the wh-particle "ne" values C[superscript 0] with [+Q, +wh] features, which licenses the wh-word "in situ." As a result, no wh-movement is necessary and Subjacency becomes irrelevant. Japanese also employs question particles, such as "ka" or "no." However, they are "defective" in the sense that they can only value the ambiguous C[superscript 0] as [+Q] and they are unable to specify the question as to whether it is [+yes/no] or [+wh]. To value C[superscript 0] as a head with [+wh], a wh-operator in a wh-word inside the sentence has to raise overtly to C[superscript 0]. The results of an acceptability judgement task show that although the Japanese speakers respond in a broadly target-like way, the lexical morphological feature [+wh] of the particle "ne" in their L2 Chinese lexicons is permanently deficient, which leads to variability in their intuitions about Chinese wh-questions. A lexical morphological feature deficit account for the results is proposed, and it is suggested that the lexical morphology-syntax interface can be a source of variability in L2 acquisition. (Contains 8 tables and 24 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A