image of L2 acquisition of the Chinese plural marker -men by English and Korean speakers
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This article investigates the L2 acquisition of the Chinese plural maker - by English and Korean speakers within the framework of the Feature Reassembly Hypothesis (FRH) ( ). The Chinese plural suffix -, the Korean plural suffix -, and the English plural suffix - share some properties and differ on others. Thirty-two English-speaking learners and thirty-five Korean-speaking learners of Chinese of advanced and intermediate proficiency were tested using a truth value judgment task and a grammaticality judgment task. Results show that: (i) all the L2 groups have acquired the target feature set of - (i.e., [plural, specific, human]); (ii) the two English groups and the advanced Korean group but not the intermediate Korean group have acquired the conditions on the overt realization of - (i.e., optionality with demonstratives and prohibition with classifiers). The results are consistent with the FRH: differences in how features are assembled in lexical items and differences in conditions on feature realization between the L1 and L2 lead to acquisition difficulty; such difficulty can be overcome, though native-like performance is not guaranteed.


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