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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 or proceedings contents)


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.

Published in

Proceedings of the 13th Generative Approaches to Second Language Acquisition Conference (GASLA 2015)
edited by David Stringer, Jordan Garrett, Becky Halloran, and Sabrina Mossman
Table of contents
Printed edition: $290.00