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Bookmark and Share Paper 2625

Chinese Speakers' Acquisition of Telicity in English
Bin Yin and Elsi Kaiser
182-198 (complete paper or proceedings contents)

Abstract

This research investigated L1 Chinese speakers' representation of English telicity in their inter-language. For some Accomplishment VPs, Chinese allows both termination and completion interpretations, whereas English permits only a completion reading. 39 L1 Chinese/L2 English learners and 19 L1 English controls took part in a sentence rating task. We found that sentences where a termination interpretation is implied for the event (e.g. "John read the book, but did not finish reading it") were rated as comparatively natural by the L2 learners. In contrast, L1 English controls rated such sentences as comparatively unnatural. The results suggest L1 influence for Chinese learners acquiring English telicity. In addition, our findings provide new evidence for the claim that L2 acquisition is especially difficult when successful acquisition requires "unlearning" an L1-based property in the absence of negative evidence.

Published in

Selected Proceedings of the 2010 Second Language Research Forum: Reconsidering SLA Research, Dimensions, and Directions
edited by Gisela Granena, Joel Koeth, Sunyoung Lee-Ellis, Anna Lukyanchenko, Goretti Prieto Botana, and Elizabeth Rhoades
Table of contents
Printed edition: $260.00