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ERIC Number: EJ912158
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 45
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 90
ISSN: ISSN-1048-9223
Why Some Imperfectives Are Interpreted Imperfectly: A Study of Chinese Learners of Japanese
Gabriele, Alison; McClure, William
Language Acquisition: A Journal of Developmental Linguistics, v18 n1 p39-83 2011
The study investigates whether advanced second language (L2) learners can extend beyond the grammatical properties of the first language (L1) to successfully acquire tense and aspect. We examine the acquisition of the semantics of the imperfective marker "te-iru" in Japanese by native speakers of Mandarin Chinese, a language that grammatically encodes aspect but not tense. The results of an interpretation task suggest that Chinese learners cannot extend beyond the properties of the L1. However, these results are interpreted in light of a series of related studies that show that Chinese learners can acquire tense and aspect in L2 English and that English native speakers also have difficulty with the imperfective in L2 Japanese. We argue that difficulty with the interpretation of imperfectives in L2 acquisition is not related solely to the properties of the L1, but rather to two properties of the target language: the specific morphological encoding of tense and aspect and the complexity of the semantic computation. (Contains 2 tables, 5 figures, and 18 footnotes.)
Psychology Press. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Japan