CLAUSAL-PACKAGING OF PATH OF MOTION IN MANDARIN LEARNERS’ ACQUISITION OF RUSSIAN AND SPANISH
Kawai Chui, Hsiang-lin Yeh, Wen-Chun Lan, and Yu-Han Cheng
Given that Mandarin is a verb-serializing language, Russian a satellite-framed language, and Spanish a verb-framed language, the current study examines Mandarin college students’ acquisition of Russian and of Spanish to understand the strength of preferences for expression of Path in Mandarin on learners’ foreign language acquisition in Taiwan, and whether there is any cross-linguistic difference between the acquisition of the two foreign languages. Utilizing data from oral narratives, the study focuses on the morphosyntactic and concatenation preferences in Mandarin, Russian and Spanish. First, Russian majors’ morphosyntactic preferences demonstrate that Mandarin affects students’ acquisition of Russian at the elementary level. However, learners’ first language does not hold strength in the acquisition of Spanish. Second, deviations from learners’ Mandarin were found and appear to be language-specific, in that elementary learners of Russian produced a lot more one-path-element clauses, and learners of Spanish rather preferred two-path-element clauses. The findings as a whole provide a deeper understanding of the various degrees of cross-linguistic transfer on Mandarin learners’ acquisition of two typologically different foreign languages at two levels of proficiency.
Key words: motion event, path, foreign language acquisition, cross-linguistic study