NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ928531
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jun
Pages: 41
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 67
ISSN: ISSN-0023-8333
Learning to Express Motion Events in an L2: The Case of Chinese Directional Complements
Wu, Shu-Ling
Language Learning, v61 n2 p414-454 Jun 2011
The present study adopted a cognitive linguistic framework--Talmy's (1985, 1991, 2000) typological classification of motion events--to investigate how second-language (L2) Chinese learners come to express motion events in a targetlike manner. Fifty-five U.S. university students and 20 native speakers of Chinese participated in the study. A controlled composition task and a picture-cued written task were administered to elicit learners' knowledge and degree of mastery of Chinese spatial morphemes, also known as directional complements (DCs). Analysis of learners' interlanguage data shows that the difficulties came from the syntactic complexity of the target DC patterns and from the typological features of Chinese as a serial-verb language. The dual functions of DCs as path satellites and as independent verbs posed considerable difficulty for the learners whose first language (L1), English, encodes path by means of satellites only. Based on the results, a developmental order of mastery of L2 Chinese DCs is proposed. The study illuminates areas of difficulty in adjusting to the L2 thinking-for-speaking patterns (Cadierno, 2004, 2008; Slobin, 1996a) that arise when differences in spatial categorization and in conventionalized ways of path encoding exist between the L1 and L2.
Wiley-Blackwell. 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148. Tel: 800-835-6770; Tel: 781-388-8598; Fax: 781-388-8232; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A