Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
An Empirical Study of Senior High School Students’ Production and Comprehension of the Existential There Construction
Lai, Hsiang Chun
Chang, Hsun Huei
Lai, Hsiang Chun
|Issue Date:||2016-05-09 13:31:55 (UTC+8)|
Based on previous empirical studies, Chinese EFL learners were found to overuse or misuse English existential construction. The present study aims to probe into how senior high school students produce and comprehend English existential construction, mainly the there-be sentences. The main concern includes the learners’ production and comprehension performances, the difficulty hierarchy of existential properties, and the error types in learners’ writing performances.
A total of eighty senior high school freshman students were invited to take the Chinese-English translation (CET) task and the grammatical judgment (GJ) task, and 129 senior high school first graders were asked to receive the guided writing (GW) task. The CET and GJ tasks were designed and analyzed in terms of four linguistic properties of English existential construction, including the copular be, the postverbal and locative noun phrases, the form of the second predicate, and the alienability between postverbal and locative noun phrases. The theories of Contrastive Analysis and Error Analysis were adopted in data analysis.
In conclusion, there are three findings in the present study. First of all, the results of the CET and GJ tasks showed that the subjects performed better in production than in comprehension as a whole. Second, though the differences between L1 and L2 did have influence on the subjects’ performance, yet their errors could not always be attributed to cross-linguistic influence. In other words, the subjects’ performances were not completely consistent with the theory of CA. Third, the corpus analysis of the GW task indicated that there was little overuse of English existential construction in the subjects’ writing performance, but half of the existential sentences that occurred in their writing were judged syntactically or semantically ungrammatical.
Hopefully, the present study will provide some pedagogical implications for the instruction of English existential construction. It is also expected that future studies will shed light on issues concerning the acquisition of English existential construction.
Abbott, B. (1997). Definiteness and existentials. Language, 73(1), 103-112.
Allen, K. (1971). A note on the source of there in existential sentences. Foundations of Language, 7, 1-18.
Aniya, S. (1992). The semantics and the syntax of the existential there-construction. Linguistic Analysis, 22(3-4), 154-184.
Baker, C. L. (1995). English Syntax. Cambridge, Mass: The MIT Press.
Bowen, J., Martin, J., & Stockwell, R. (1965a). The Grammatical Structures of English and Italian. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Bowen, J., Martin, J., & Stockwell, R. (1965b). The Grammatical Structures of English and Spanish. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Breivik, L. E. (1975). The use and non-use of ‘existential there’ in present-day English. Forum Linguisticum, 7, 57-103.
-------- (1981). On the interpretation of existential there. Language, 57(1), 1-25.
-------- (2000). “On relative clauses and locative expressions in English existential sentences.” Vienna English Working Papers, 9(1), 6-28.
Chang, H.-H. (2004). “The definiteness and information status of the NPs in Mandarin you-existentials.” Papers from the 16th North American Conference of Chinese Linguistics. University of Iowa.
Celce-Murcia, M., & Larsen-Freeman, D. (1999). The grammar book: An ESL / EFL teacher's course (2nd ed.). Rowley, Mass: Newbury House.
Chen, C.Y. D. (1993). Some differences between English and Chinese: in the case of “there-insertion.” The Proceeding of the First International Symposium on English Teaching, 117-134. English Teachers’ Association, Taiwan.
Chen, F. J. (2006). Contrastive research and crosslinguistic influence: Some implications for teaching Chinese and English as a second language (Revised ed.). Taipei: Crane Publisher.
Chou, M. J. (2004). The overuse of English existential constructions by EFL college learners in Taiwan. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Tamkang University.
Collins, P. (1992). Cleft existential in English. Language Science, 14(4), 419-433.
Corder, S. P. (1967). Significance of errors. IRAL, V(4), 161-170.
Duff, P. A. (1993). The convergence of possessive and existential constructions. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 15(1), 1-34.
Freeze, R. (1992). Existentials and other locatives. Language, 68(3), 553-595.
Fuller, J. W., & Gundel, J. K. (1987). Topic-prominence in interlanguage. Language Learning, 37(1), 1-17.
Gass, S. (1994). The reliability of second language grammaticality judgments. Tarone, E., Gass, S. & Cohen, A. (Eds.). Research Methodology in Second Language Acquisition. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Gass, S. M., & Selinker, L. (2001). Second language acquisition: an introductory course. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erblaum Associates.
Givon, T. (1979). From discourse to syntax: Grammar as a processing strategy. In T. Givon (Ed.), Syntax and semantics (Vol. 12, pp. 81-112). New York: Academic Press.
Goodluck, H. (1991). Language Acquisition: A Linguistic Introduction. Malden, Mass: Blackwell.
Gu, H. (1998). On the exploration of message transmission in English existential sentences. Journal of Foreign Languages, 118, 32-37.
He, S. (1989). Participant and setting in possessive and existential domain: A cognitive grammar approach to you in Mandarin Chinese. In R. Carlson, S. DeLancey, S. Gildea, D. Payne, & A. Saxena (Eds.), Proceedings of the Fourth Meeting of the Pacific Linguistics Conference (pp. 229-238). Eugene: University of Oregon.
Her, O. (1991). On the Mandarin possessive and existential verb you and its idiomatic expressions. Language Sciences, 13(3-4), 381-398.
Hsin, A.-L. (2002). On indefinite subject NPs in Chinese. Chinese Studies, 20 (2), 353-376.
Huang, C.-T. J. (1987). Existential sentences in Chinese and (in)definiteness. Safir, K. (1987). What explains the definiteness effect? In E. J. Reuland & ter Meulen, A. G. B. (Eds.), The Representation of (In)definiteness (pp. 226-253). Cambridge, Mass: The MIT Press.
James, C. (1980). Contrastive analysis. London: Longman.
Jin, J. (1996). English and Chinese existential sentences. Journal of Foreign Languages, 106, 10-16.
Kimball, J. (1973). The grammar of existence. In Corum, C., Smith-stark, T. & Weiser, A. (eds.). Papers from the 9th Regional Meeting. Chicago Linguistic Society.
Kuno, S. (1971). The position of locatives in existential sentences. Linguistic Inquiry, 2, 333-378.
Lado, R. (1957). Linguistics across cultures. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Lai, X. L. (2008). Topic prominence: Taiwanese EFL learner’s interlanguage. MA thesis. National Cheng Chi University.
Larsen-Freeman, D., & Long, M. H. (1991). An introduction to second language acquisition research. London: Longman.
Lee, W. (1968). Thoughts on contrastive linguistics in the context of language teaching. In J. Alatis (Ed.), Contrastive linguistics and its pedagogical implication. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University.
Li, Y.-C. (1972). Sentences with be, exist, and have in Chinese. Language, 48(2), 573-583.
Li, C. N., & Thompson, S. A. (1976). Subject and topic: A new typology of
language. In C. Li (Ed.), Subject and topic (pp. 457–489). New York: Academic Press.
Li, C. N., & Thompson, S. A. (1981). Mandarin Chinese: A functional reference grammar. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Li, Y. H. (1996). Definite and indefinite existential constructions. Linguistic Science, 26, 175-191.
Liao, Y. D., & Fukuya, Y. J. (2004). Avoidance of phrasal verbs: The case of Chinese learners of English. Language Learning, 54(2), 193-226.
Lightbown, P. (1987). Classroom language as input to second language acquisition. In C. Pfaff (Ed.), First and second language acquisition (pp. 169-187). Cambridge: Newbury.
Lin, Y. Y. (2004). An empirical study of the existential there construction in the acquisition of English as a second language. MA thesis. National Taiwan Normal University.
McLaughlin, B. (1987). Theories of second-language learning. New York, NY: Routledge, Chapman and Hall, Inc.
Milsark, G. L. (1974). Existential sentences in English. Doctoral dissertation, MIT.
Munnich, E., Flynn, S. & Martohardjono, G. (1994). Elicited imitation and grammaticality judgment tasks: what they measure and how they relate to each other. Tarone, E., Gass, S. & Cohen, A. (Eds.). Research Methodology in Second Language Acquisition. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Pica, T. (1984). L1 transfer and L2 complexity as factors in syllabus design. TESOL Quarterly, 18, 689-704.
Richards, J. (1971). Error analysis and second language strategies. Language Sciences, 17, 12-22.
Richard, J. C., & Schmidt, R. (2002). Longman dictionary of language teaching and applied linguistics (3rd ed.). Essex: Pearson Education Limited.
Ringbom, H. (1992). On L1 transfer in L2 comprehension and L2 production. Language Learning, 42(1), 85-112.
Rutherford, W. (1983). Language typology and language transfer. In S. M. Gass & L. Selinker (Eds.), Language transfer in language learning (pp. 358–470). Rowley, Mass.: Newbury House.
Safir, K. (1987). What explains the definiteness effect? In E. J. Reuland & ter Meulen, A. G. B. (Eds.), The Representation of (In)definiteness (pp. 71-97). Cambridge, Mass: The MIT Press.
Sasaki, M. (1990). Topic prominence in Japanese EFL students’ existential
constructions. Language Learning, 40(3), 337-368.
Schachter, J. (1974). An error in error analysis. Language Learning, 24, 205-214.
-------- (1993). A new account of language transfer. In S. M. Gass & L. Selinker (Eds.), Language transfer in language learning (pp. 98–109). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Schachter, J., & Rutherford, W. (1979). Discourse function and language transfer. Working Papers in Bilingualism, 19, 1-12.
Skinner, B. (1957). Verbal behavior. New York: Appleton Century Crofts.
Stowell, T. (1978). Where was there before there was there. In D. Farkas, W. Jacobson, & K. Todrys (eds). Papers from the 14th Regional Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society. University of Chicago.
Tsao, F. (1990). Sentence and clause structure in Chinese: A functional perspective.
Taipei: Student Book Co.
Wang, B.W. (1981). Existential sentences in Chinese. MA thesis, National Taiwan Normal University.
Wardhaugh, R. (1970). The contrastive analysis hypothesis. TESOL Quarterly, 4, 123-130.
Watson, J. (1924). Behaviorism. New York: Norton.
White, L. (1989). Universal Grammar and Second Language Acquisition. John Benjamins.
Wible, D., Kuo, C. H., Chien, F. Y., Liu, A., and Tsao, N., L. (2001). A web-based EFL writing environment: Integrating information for learners, teachers, and researchers. Computers and Education (pp. 297-315).
Wode, H. (1976). Developmental sequences in naturalistic L2 acquisition. Working papers on bilingualism, 11, 1-31.
Xiao, Y. (2002). The syntactic development of school-age Chinese-speaking
children learning English. International Review of Applied Linguistics, 235-271.
Yip, V. (1995). Interlanguage and learnability: From Chinese to English.
Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
|Appears in Collections:||[Department of English] Theses|
Files in This Item:
All items in 學術集成 are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved.