上海交大“985 工程”外语学院二语习得研究平台 > Ph.D Programs > 中国学习者英语关系从句使用行为研究

中国学习者英语关系从句使用行为研究

2009-08-23 21:41 来源: 作者: 网友评论 1 条 浏览次数 2714

中国学习者英语关系从句使用行为研究

—— 类型学和二语习得

李金满

导师:王同顺 教授

 

中文摘要

在对各类关系从句跨语言考察的基础上,类型学家提出了著名的可及性等级。语言类型学、一语习得、二语习得等领域中许多关于关系从句的研究都显示出这个等级的重要性,但也发现一些矛盾之处。本研究试图进一步详讨类型学共性、标记和学习者语言之间的内在联系。具体而言,本研究致力于考察可及性等级对中国学习者使用英语关系从句的影响,以及可及性和关系从句的嵌入性、名词的生命性之间的交互作用。研究问题主要包括:(1)可及性、嵌入性和生命性是否在中国学习者的英语关系从句使用行为中起作用;(2)可及性是否并且怎样和嵌入性及生命性这两个因素相互影响,共同作用于学习者语言。

本研究结合语料库数据调查和一系列实验研究来解决这些问题。从两个中国学习者语料库(中国学习者英语语料库和中国学生英语笔语语料库)中,我们抽取了三种不同英语水平的学习者在作文中使用的关系从句数据进行统计分析;在实验中,我们对可及性、嵌入性和生命性三个因素进行了系统地控制,通过补全句子测试和合并句子测试考察这些因素对学生产出各类英语关系从句的制约。

研究结果表明:三个因素都在不同程度上影响中国学习者对英语关系从句的使用。就可及性而言,不同英语水平的学习者均倾向于优先产出可及性高而不是可及性低的关系从句。在语料库中,主语关系从句使用最多,直接宾语关系从句次之,介词宾语关系从句使用很少。在实验中,受试经常回避使用可及性低的直接宾语和介词宾语从句,并且产出的正确率较低;而可及性高的主语关系从句产出正确率高,并且没有发现受试回避使用。就嵌入性而言,学习者更倾向于将关系从句置于主句宾语之后。语料库中右置关系从句的出现频率比内嵌关系从句高很多;合并句子测试也显示右置关系从句比内嵌关系从句更容易产出。就名词的生命性而言,语料库和补全句子测试数据都显示,有生命先行语倾向于作主语,尤其是当从句内名词为无生命时而无生命先行语倾向于作宾语,尤其是当从句内名词为有生命时。在合并句子测试中,虽然结果不够显著,但无生命名词引导的主语关系从句显得比有生命名词引导的主语关系从句更难于处理,而有生命名词引导的宾语关系从句比无生命名词引导的宾语关系从句更难于处理。此外,语料库数据和实验数据一致表明可及性和嵌入性,可及性和生命性等因素彼此之间相互联系,共同作用;前二者体现为一种互补的关系,后二者则呈现出一种竞争的态势。综合考虑这些因素的作用能够更好地解释中国学习者使用各类英语关系从句的分布模式以及使用它们的难度。

结合语言类型学、心理语言学以及一语习得等领域的研究发现和本研究结果,我们可以看出学习者语言和自然语言一样受制于类型学共性原则。这些原则或独立,或和其他因素一起,对语言的使用、处理和习得构成影响。这意味着,加强语言类型学和二语习得两个领域的对话,从类型学视角来研究学习者语言,不仅可以为相关习得现象找到合理可行的解释,还可以验证在跨语言考察中概括出的共性倾向,从而加深并完善我们对自然语言事实和语言习得行为的理解。

 

关键词:中国学习者、英语关系从句、可及性、嵌入性、生命性


ABSTRACT

A large body of literature on relative clauses in typology, first and second language acquisition has shown the importance of the Accessibility Hierarchy (AH) originally generalized on the basis of cross-linguistic observations, as well as some inconsistencies. This doctoral research is an attempt to explore further the relationship between typological universals, markedness and learner language phenomena relating to the relative clause. Specifically, the present study aims to investigate the effect of the AH on the production of English relative clauses by Chinese EFL learners and the possible interrelation between this markedness hierarchy and the other two linguistic factors, namely embeddedness of the relative clause and animacy of noun phrases. The major research questions addressed are (1) whether or not accessibility, embeddedness and animacy play a significant role in Chinese EFL learners’ behavior on English relative clauses; and (2) whether and how accessibility interrelates with embeddedness and animacy to exert their effects on Chinese EFL learners’ production of English relative clauses.

These questions were addressed in a corpus-based investigation and a series of controlled experimental studies in which the three factors were systematically manipulated. The relative clauses naturally produced by Chinese learners at three different levels of English proficiency were extracted from two learner corpora: Chinese Learner English Corpus and Written English Corpus of Chinese Learners. Either a sentence combination task or a sentence completion task or both were used in the experiments to examine the effects of accessibility, embeddedness and animacy.

       The results have demonstrated that all three factors under investigation play a very important role in Chinese EFL learners’ use of English relative clauses. With regard to accessibility, learners at three different levels of English proficiency all exhibited a strong tendency to produce the more accessible type rather than the less accessible type of relative clauses as predicted by the AH. Subject (SU) relatives predominated in the learner corpora, Direct object (DO) relatives ranked second, and Object of preposition (OP) relatives occurred least. In the experiments, students produced less accurately and avoided more frequently the less accessible DO and OP relatives while the most accessible SU relatives were produced most accurately and no avoidance of them was found. In respect of embeddedness of the relative clause, learners typically preferred to place a relative clause in the matrix object position rather than the matrix subject position. The percentage of right-branching relative clauses occurring in corpus data was greater than that of center- embedded ones. In the sentence combination task, right-branching relative clauses were found easier for learners to produce than those center-embedded equivalents. With respect to the role of animacy of noun phrases, animate antecedents in learner corpora and in the sentence completion test showed a great tendency to function as the transitive subject, especially when the relative-clause-internal noun phrase is inanimate, whereas inanimate antecedents often took the syntactic role of the transitive object, especially when the relative-clause-internal noun phrase is animate. In the sentence combination test, relative clauses with inanimate antecedents as their subjects appeared slightly more difficult for learners to produce than relative clauses with animate antecedents as their subjects, despite a lack of statistical significance. Furthermore, the findings from the corpus-based investigation and experimental studies converge to indicate that there are interrelations between accessibility and embeddedness in a complementary way and between animacy and accessibility in a competitive manner. Taking all these factors into consideration can better account for Chinese learners’ behavior on different types of English relative clauses in terms of performance patterns and processing difficulty.

An examination of the present findings together with the relevant literature in first language acquisition, typology, and psycholinguistics suggests that learner languages, like natural languages, are constrained by universal principles which function, in isolation or in combination, to push or hamper language use, language processing and language acquisition. It is argued that enhancing the dialogue between typology and second language acquisition and studying learner languages from a typological perspective can not only provide viable explanations for certain systematic learner language phenomena and confirm typological claims, but also make significant contributions to furthering and refining our understanding of linguistic facts and second language acquisition.

 

 

Keywords: Chinese EFL learners, English relative clauses, accessibility, embeddedness, animacy

 

 

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中国学习者英语关系从句使用行为研究

 

 

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