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The Syntax of Clausal Negation in French and English Speakers' L2 Chinese
Boping Yuan
352-360 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


The paper reports on an empirical study of L2 acquisition of Chinese clausal negation by French- and English-speaking learners. In French, ne is considered an affix heading a projection of NegP whose specifier is occupied by negative operator pas. When the finite verb raises to the head of NegP, ne cliticizes to the verb before raising up to Agr with the verb. A result of the raising is the word order of the finite verb preceding pas. Unlike French, but similar to Chinese, English requires that thematic verbs remain in situ inside VP at PF and that the clausal negation appear to the left of thematic verbs. On the basis of this analysis, it was hypothesized that it would be easier for English-speaking learners than for French-speaking learners to acquire clausal negation in Chinese. However, this hypothesis is disconfirmed by the results of the study. Both the oral production data and the judgment data in the study indicate that there is little variation between the two groups in the acquisition of Chinese negation. The L2 grammars of Chinese do not allow verbs to raise at PF and require the clausal negation to appear to the left of the verb.

Published in

Proceedings of the 6th Generative Approaches to Second Language Acquisition Conference (GASLA 2002): L2 Links
edited by Juana M. Liceras, Helmut Zobl, and Helen Goodluck
Table of contents
Printed edition: $340.00