This event has passed.
Research seminar

Acquiring double-marking structures: the case of aspectual marking in L2 Chinese

28 October 2016, 16:00 – 18:00

Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge

It is common and perfectly grammatical for two different Chinese imperfective markers (zai and ­zhe) or two perfective markers (guo and le) to occur jointly in a fixed order in one sentence. In the present study, three types of double-marking structures concerning aspect in L2 Chinese have been investigated: 1) single-action imperfective structures; 2) two-action imperfective structures; and 3) single-action perfective structures.

In the field of second language acquisition research, there has been a long-standing interest in implicit and explicit knowledge (see, e.g., the contributions in Ellis, 1994; Hulstijn & Ellis, 2005; and Rebuschat & Willams, 2012). In this study, we tested English-speaking L2 learners’ explicit knowledge by using an untimed acceptability judgment task (AJT) and implicit knowledge using an elicited imitation task (EIT) in an attempt to give a better understanding of how learners use their knowledge in on-and off-line tasks.

Twenty-one beginners, 23 intermediate learners, 21 advanced learners and 25 Chinese native speakers took the two tasks. The results show that although the English-speaking L2 learners of Chinese behaved less target-like in the on-line EIT than in the off-line AJT, the acquisition patterns observed in the two tasks are similar. We argue that the resulting differences between the learners’ performance are attributable to 1) distinctions of the imperfective and the perfective double-marking structures in terms of computational complexity, and 2) influences from the learners’ first language.

Additional Documents

+ Add to Calendar


MEITS Post-Doctoral Research Associate Yanyu Guo

16:00 - 18:00


Room 7
Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Sidgwick Avenue, Cambridge, CB3 9DA.

Contact Email:
More info:

Our Partners