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The Acquisition of Japanese Relative Clauses by L1 Chinese Learners

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Title:The Acquisition of Japanese Relative Clauses by L1 Chinese Learners
Authors:Chen, Yunchuan
Contributors:Fukuda, Shinichiro (advisor)
East Asian Language & Literature (department)
Keywords:Modern language
show 4 moreJapanese
relative clauses
second language
show less
Date Issued:2019
Publisher:University of Hawai'i at Manoa
Abstract:This dissertation focuses on L1 Chinese learners’ acquisition of Japanese relative clauses (RCs), as it provides an ideal testing ground for two important questions of L2 acquisition in syntax: (i) when two languages have a superficially similar syntactic structure that arguably involves different syntactic operations, can L2 learners acquire the difference? (ii) if successful acquisition of such a difference does occur, in what ways does that inform us about the nature of L2 acquisition of syntax? Despite such superficial similarities between Chinese and Japanese RCs, previous theoretical work puts forward different analyses for their syntactic structures. Thus, the first two parts of this dissertation provide novel experimental evidence indicating that the head noun phrase (NP) of RCs is only base-generated in Japanese but is either raised or base-generated in Chinese. Nevetheless, the experimental evidence also suggests that the raising strategy is preferred to the base-generation strategy to derive the head NP from the singly embedded object position of Chinese RCs. In the third part, I reported the findings from another experiment I created to explore whether L1 Chinese learners of L2 Japanese are able to acquire the syntactic knowledge that the head NP of Japanese RCs can only be base-generated. Since such knowledge is implicit, I used a diagnostic to test how L1 Chinese learners interpret the anaphor jibun ‘self’ within the head NP of Japanese RCs. The experimental results show that at least some advanced L1 Chinese learners of Japanese have acquired the difference between Chinese and Japanese RCs in terms of the interpretation of the anaphor inside the head NP, despite its underdetermined nature. This in turn argues for the Full Transfer/Full Access Hypothesis (Schwartz & Sprouse, 1994, 1996) and argues against ‘partial access to UG’ approaches such as the Interpretability Hypothesis (Tsimpli & Dimitrakopoulou, 2007).
Pages/Duration:261 pages
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - East Asian Languages and Literatures (Chinese)

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