SECOND LANGUAGE LEARNER’S USE OF GOOD-ENOUGH REPRSENTATION IN GRAMMATICAL PROCESSING
Dong-Bo Hsu/ National Taiwan Normal University
Second language learners’ (hereafter L2ers) first language backgrounds, exposure to L2 input, and cross-linguistically common patterns often play a vital role in their construction of grammatical representations in L2 acquisition. The current study investigates how these factors exert an impact on native speakers from typologically different Mandarin Chinese, English, and Japanese in their comprehension of four types of Mandarin transitive constructions: the SVO, the ba-, the subjectless ba-, and topicalization constructions with pseudo verbs, every one of which has its respective frequencies when the animacy cue is neutralized. The results indicate that all of these language users use a good-enough representation that treats the first noun as the agent in grammatical processing, the NVN strategy. Employment of this representation leads to a similar performance for all but the topicalization construction, regardless of the construction frequencies. L1 backgrounds and L2 input exert impact on topicalization, which is non-canonical in Mandarin, apart from the NVN strategy.
Keywords: Chinese, comprehension, English, Japanese, syntax