Cross-linguistic Priming of the Passive in Mandarin and English Bilinguals
Claire Stabile, Nian Liu, Victoria Chen, and Kamil Ud Deen
223-232 (complete paper
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The Mandarin bei construction is controversial. Some claim it is a passive, involving movement (Travis, 1984; Koopman, 1984), while others claim it is a biclausal structure (Hashimoto, 1987; Wei, 1994; see Huang, 1999 for an overview). We investigate this issue using cross-language priming in adult Mandarin-English bilingual/L2 speakers. We show that priming occurs cross-linguistically, indicating that English passives and the bei construction share an underlying structure, and the bei construction is indeed a true passive. A second experiment examines whether these results are indeed due to syntactic priming, or thematic-role ordering.
Proceedings of the 13th Generative Approaches to Second Language Acquisition Conference (GASLA 2015)
edited by David Stringer, Jordan Garrett, Becky Halloran, and Sabrina Mossman
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