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Expressions of different-trajectory caused motion events in Chinese

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Item Summary

Title: Expressions of different-trajectory caused motion events in Chinese
Authors: Paul, Jing Zhang
Keywords: Chinese
Issue Date: May 2013
Publisher: [Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2013]
Abstract: We perform motion events in all aspects of our daily life, from walking home to jumping into a pool, from throwing a frisbee to pushing a shopping cart. The fact that languages may encode such motion events in different fashions has raised intriguing questions regarding the typological classifications of natural languages in relation to expressions of motion events.
Talmy (1985) classifies all natural languages into two distinct categories: verb-framed or satellite-framed. The classification of Chinese under Talmy's system, however, has provoked much controversy. Specifically, Chinese has been classified as satellite-framed (Talmy, 1985), simultaneously satellite-framed and verb-framed (Ji, Hendriks, & Hickman, 2011) or equipollently-framed (Slobin, 2004). Slobin (2004) claims that not all natural languages fit into Talmy's (1985) bipartite classification; rather, serial verb languages such as Chinese are "equipollently-framed", which means that both the Manner (e.g., walking, flying) and the Path (e.g., to, into) of the moving entity are encoded in equally significant verbs.
In the context of this debate, this dissertation compares expressions of different-trajectory motion events in Chinese to those of English, and, on the basis of this analysis, it investigates the influence of English on the learning of expressions of different-trajectory caused motion events in Chinese.
The findings show that, like English, Chinese is satellite-framed in describing different-trajectory motion events. Nonetheless, despite such similarity, English learners of Chinese display two major problems in describing different-trajectory motion events. The first problem is that they do not encode the Path component in Chinese as frequently as native Chinese speakers do. The second problem is that they do not employ the disposal construction as frequently as native Chinese speakers do in their verbal descriptions.
Previous studies have focused mainly on the acquisition of a typologically different second language. This dissertation shows that the differences between two typologically similar languages can also create substantial problems for second language learners.
It is hoped that this dissertation will not only yield insights into the typological classification of Chinese in encoding different-trajectory caused motion events, but will also shed light on the acquisition of typologically similar languages.
Description: Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2013.
Includes bibliographical references.
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/101987
Appears in Collections:Ph.D. - East Asian Languages and Literatures (Chinese)



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