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Academic Paper


Title: Behaviours of wh-words in English speakers' L2 Chinese wh-questions: Evidence of no variability, temporary variability and persistent variability in L2 grammars
Author: Boping Yuan
Institution: University of Cambridge
Linguistic Field: Psycholinguistics; Syntax
Subject Language: Chinese, Mandarin
Abstract: This paper presents an empirical study of how different wh -words behave in English speakers' L2 Chinese wh-questions. Our results indicate that L2 Chinese wh-questions are specified by the Chinese wh -particle ne and that there is neither variability nor L1 transfer in this aspect of L2 grammars as no wh -movement is found in English speakers' L2 Chinese. However, wh -words do not develop in a uniform fashion and different wh -words behave differently both synchronically and developmentally in English speakers' L2 Chinese. There is evidence for both temporary variability and persistent variability in some aspects of English speakers' L2 Chinese wh-questions. This is believed to result from breakdowns at the lexical morphology–syntax interface and morphosyntax–semantics interface levels in L2 Chinese grammars. We will provide an account for the no variability, temporary variability as well as persistent variability in English speakers' L2 Chinese wh-questions.

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN Bilingualism: Language and Cognition Vol. 10, Issue 3.

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