Volume 58, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2451-828x
  • E-ISSN: 2451-8298
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



This study examines English speaking learners’ acquisition of three Chinese structures, including Nominalization, Cleft, and Relative Clause. Our findings reveal different acquisition patterns for the three structures and identify several major factors such as structural similarities and differences between the native and second languages, feature configurations, native language transfer, memory factors such as the storage and integration cost, learner avoidance strategy, and motivation as role players in the learning process. This study presents new data and perspectives on the understanding of the second language acquisition of Chinese structures, reveals the acquisitional effects of the identified major factors, proves the validity of Feature Reassembly Hypothesis (FRH) and Storage and Integration Resources Accounts (SIRA) as potential universal principles that affect the processing and acquisition of the second language, and provides theoretical and pedagogical implications for the fields of Chinese as a second language and second language acquisition in general as well.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Betancort, M., M. Carreiras, and P. Sturt
    (2009) The processing of subject and object relative clause in Spanish: an eye-tracking study. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 621, 1915–1929. 10.1080/17470210902866672
    https://doi.org/10.1080/17470210902866672 [Google Scholar]
  2. Bever, T. G.
    (1970) The cognitive basis for linguistic structures. InHayes, J. R. (ed.) Cognition and the Development of Language, 279–360. John Wiley.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Chao, Y.
    (1968) A grammar of spoken Chinese. Berkeley: University of California Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Cheng, L. L. S.
    (2008) Deconstructing the shi … de construction. Linguistic Review, 251, 235–66. 10.1515/TLIR.2008.007
    https://doi.org/10.1515/TLIR.2008.007 [Google Scholar]
  5. Cook, A.
    (2021) Reconsidering the shi…(de) construction in spoken Mandarin. Chinese Language and Discourse. 10.1075/cld.18003.coo
    https://doi.org/10.1075/cld.18003.coo [Google Scholar]
  6. Drubig, H. B.
    (2003) Toward a typology of focus and focus constructions. Linguistics, 41 (1), 1–50. 10.1515/ling.2003.003
    https://doi.org/10.1515/ling.2003.003 [Google Scholar]
  7. Gass, S.
    (1980) An investigation of syntactic transfer in adult second language learners. InR. Scarcella and S. Krashen (Eds.), Research in second language acquisition: selected papers from the Los Angeles second language acquisition research forum, 133–141. Rowley, MA: Newbury House.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Gibson, E.
    (1998) Linguistic complexity: Locality of syntactic dependencies. Cognition, 681, 1–76. 10.1016/S0010‑0277(98)00034‑1
    https://doi.org/10.1016/S0010-0277(98)00034-1 [Google Scholar]
  9. (2000) Dependency locality theory: A distance-based theory of linguistic complexity. InA. Marantz, Y. Miyashita, & W. O’Neil (Eds.), Image, Language, Brain: Papers from the First Mind Articulation Project Symposium, 95–126. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Hedberg, N.
    (2000) The referential status of clefts. Language, 761, 891–920. 10.2307/417203
    https://doi.org/10.2307/417203 [Google Scholar]
  11. Hole, D.
    (2011) The deconstruction of Chinese shi…de clefts revisited. Lingua, 1211, 1707–33. 10.1016/j.lingua.2011.07.004
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lingua.2011.07.004 [Google Scholar]
  12. Hu, X. & C. Liu
    (2007) Restrictive relative clauses in English and Korean learners’ second language Chinese. Second Language Research, 23(3), 263–287. 10.1177/0267658307077642
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0267658307077642 [Google Scholar]
  13. Huang, C.-T. J.
    (1982) Logical relations in Chinese and the theory of grammar. Ph. D. dissertation, MIT.
  14. Jin, W.
    (2013) Interference and Universal Factors in the Acquisition of Chinese Relative Clauses. International Chinese Language Education, (1), 137–154. Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press. Beijing, China.
    [Google Scholar]
  15. Kanno, K.
    (2007) Factors affecting the processing of Japanese relative clauses by L2 learners. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 29 (2): 197–218. 10.1017/S0272263107070118
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0272263107070118 [Google Scholar]
  16. Keenan, E. L. and B. Comrie
    (1977) Noun Phrase Accessibility and Universal Grammar. Linguistics Inquiry, 8 (1), 63–99.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. Kleinmann, H. H.
    (1977) Avoidance behavior in adult second language acquisition 1. Language Learning, 27(1), 93–107. 10.1111/j.1467‑1770.1977.tb00294.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-1770.1977.tb00294.x [Google Scholar]
  18. Lardiere, D.
    (2005) On morphological competence. InL. Dekydtspotter, R. A. Sprouse, & A. Liljestrand, (Eds.), Proceedings of the 7th generative approaches to second language acquisition conference (GASLA 2004), 178–192. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. (2008) Feature assembly in second language acquisition. InJ. M. Liceras, H. Zobl, & H. Goodluck, (Eds.), The role of formal features in second language acquisition, 106–140. New York: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. (2009) Some thoughts on the contrastive analysis of features in second language acquisition. Second Language Research, 251, 173–227. 10.1177/0267658308100283
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0267658308100283 [Google Scholar]
  21. Li, C. N. & S. A. Thompson
    (1989) Mandarin Chinese: a functional reference grammar. University of California Press. Berkeley, USA.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Li, L. & T. Yang
    (2020) A Cognitive Study of Nominalization in Mandarin. Journal of Literature and Art Studies, 10 (9), 835–847. 10.17265/2159‑5836/2020.09.013
    https://doi.org/10.17265/2159-5836/2020.09.013 [Google Scholar]
  23. Liu, Y., T. Yao, N. Bi, L. Ge, & Y. Shi
    (2009) Integrated Chinese. Third Edition. Cheng & Tsui Company. Boston.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Mai, Z. & B. Yuan
    (2016) Uneven reassembly of tense, telicity and discourse features in L2 acquisition of the Chinese sh…de cleft construction by adult English speakers. Second Language Research, 32 (2), 247–276. 10.1177/0267658315623323
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0267658315623323 [Google Scholar]
  25. Ning, C. Y. & J. S. Montanaro
    (2012) Encounters: Chinese language and culture. Yale University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  26. O’Grady, W., M. Lee, & M. Choo
    (2003) A subject-object asymmetry in the acquisition of relative clauses in Korean as a second language. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 25 (3), 433–448. 10.1017/S0272263103000172
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0272263103000172 [Google Scholar]
  27. Packard, J. L.
    (2008) Relative clause processing in L2 speakers of Mandarin and English. Journal of the Chinese Language Teachers Association, 43(2), 107–146.
    [Google Scholar]
  28. Paris, M. C.
    (1979) Nominalization in Mandarin Chinese: the morpheme de and the shi…de constructions. Université de Paris VII, Département de recherches linguistiques, Paris.
    [Google Scholar]
  29. Paul, W. and J. Whitman
    (2008) Shi…de focus clefts in Mandarin Chinese. The Linguistic Review, 251, 413–51. 10.1515/TLIR.2008.012
    https://doi.org/10.1515/TLIR.2008.012 [Google Scholar]
  30. Rochemont, M.
    (2013) Discourse-new, F-marking and normal stress. Lingua, 1361, 38–62. 10.1016/j.lingua.2013.07.016
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lingua.2013.07.016 [Google Scholar]
  31. Ross, C.
    (1983) “On the Functions of Mandarin de.” Journal of Chinese Linguistics, 11 (2), 214–246.
    [Google Scholar]
  32. Schwartz, B. & R. Sprouse
    (1996) L2 cognitive states and the full transfer/full access model. Second Language Research, (12), 40–72. 10.1177/026765839601200103
    https://doi.org/10.1177/026765839601200103 [Google Scholar]
  33. Shi, D.
    (1994) The nature of Chinese emphatic sentences. Journal of East Asian Linguistics, 31, 81–100. 10.1007/BF01733150
    https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01733150 [Google Scholar]
  34. Simpson, A. & Wu, Z.
    (2002) From D to T-Determiner Incorporation and the Creation of Tense, Journal of East Asian Linguistics, 111,169–209. 10.1023/A:1014934915836
    https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1014934915836 [Google Scholar]
  35. Soh, H. L.
    (2009) Speaker presupposition and Mandarin Chinese sentence-final-le: A unified analysis of the ‘change of state’ and the ‘contrary to expectation’ reading. Natural Language Linguistic Theory, 271, 623–57. 10.1007/s11049‑009‑9074‑4
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s11049-009-9074-4 [Google Scholar]
  36. Sun, C.
    (2006) Chinese: a linguistic introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511755019
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511755019 [Google Scholar]
  37. Sybesma, R.
    (1997) Why Chinese verb le is a resultative predicate. Journal of East Asian Linguistics, (6), 215–61. 10.1023/A:1008238319773
    https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1008238319773 [Google Scholar]
  38. Tarallo, F. & J. Myhill
    (1983) Interference and natural language processing in second language acquisition. Language Learning, 331, 55–76. 10.1111/j.1467‑1770.1983.tb00986.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-1770.1983.tb00986.x [Google Scholar]
  39. Teng, S.
    (1979) Remarks on cleft sentences in Chinese. Journal of Chinese Linguistics, 7 (1), 101–114.
    [Google Scholar]
  40. White, L.
    (2003) Second language acquisition and universal grammar. New York: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511815065
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511815065 [Google Scholar]
  41. Xu, Y.
    (2009) The syntax, processing and second language acquisition of Chinese relative clauses. Ph.D. dissertation. University of Arizona.
  42. (2014) Processing relative clauses in Chinese as a second language. Second Language Research, 30 (4), 439–461. 10.1177/0267658313511485
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0267658313511485 [Google Scholar]
  43. Zhang, Z.
    (2020) Learner engagement and language learning: a narrative inquiry of a successful language learner, The Language Learning Journal, 50 (4), 378–392. 10.1080/09571736.2020.1786712
    https://doi.org/10.1080/09571736.2020.1786712 [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error