City University of Hong Kong Dep
Department of Chinese, Translation and Linguistics
Research Degree Forum
A Cross-Sectional Study of Chinese Learners’ Acquisition of English Verb Lexicon
Ms. WANG Yuxia
PhD candidate, Department of Chinese, Translation and Linguistics, City University of Hong Kong
Date: 15 April 2009, Wednesday
Time: 4:30 - 5:30pm
Venue: B7603 (7/F, Blue Zone), Academic Building, CityU
This study investigates whether Chinese learners can acquire the semantic and syntactic properties of English verb lexicon and attempts to reveal the developmental trend of learners’ verb knowledge from a cross-sectional perspective. It conducted a picture-stimulated grammaticality judgment test and recruited 110 EFL learners as well as 25 native speakers. Major findings are concluded in the following points. First, learners appear to start with a wider grammar where they fail to differentiate semantically-coherent verb classes. With the development of their English proficiency level, a clear tendency towards the target-like performance is clearly observable. Second, participants appear to differentiate build-type verbs before they make a distinction between the happen-type and break-type. Third, studies on individual verb performance show a cluster-scatter-cluster pattern. For beginners, all verbs are alike and therefore cluster altogether; for intermediate learners, verbs in the same type exhibit varied usage and therefore scatter; for advanced learners, verbs cluster again by type and usage, presenting native-like verb lexico-syntactic knowledge.
Ms. WANG Yuxia is a Ph.D. candidate from the Department of Chinese, Translation and Linguistics of CityU. Her search focuses on second language acquisition and technology application in language learning.