The effects of study-abroad: the acquisition of English embedded wh-questions by L1 Cantonese speakers
AuthorMa, Chun Long
AffiliationSchool of Languages and Linguistics
Document TypeMasters Coursework thesis
Access StatusOpen Access
© 2018 Chun Long Ma
Motivated by the growth of study-abroad (SA) population and the various findings in Second Language Acquisition (SLA) literature, this thesis investigates the effect of the SA context on the acquisition of English embedded wh-questions by first-language (L1) Cantonese speakers. 21 (11 at-home, AH and 10 SA) Cantonese learners of English participated in the study. The data were elicited by an oral production task (OPT), a grammaticality judgement task (GJT), a language contact profile (LCP) and an interview. The focus of the OPT and GJT was the inversion error made by the participants in the production and judgement of English embedded wh-questions, while the LCP and interview aiming at figuring out the possible factors of the participants’ knowledge of the target feature or the lack thereof. Moreover, the study set out to examine the difficulties of different wh-words (what, who, which, when, where, how and why) and whether the argument (what, who, which) – adjunct (when, where, how and why) asymmetry existed. The results showed no significant difference between the scores of the SA group and the AH group, suggesting that SA does not have a superior effect on the acquisition of L2 syntax. Diverse difficulties of different wh-words and the argument-adjunct asymmetry were found. These findings were discussed in light of the concepts of explicit and implicit knowledge as well as usage-base approaches. The study has pedagogical and theoretical implications.
Keywordssecond language acquisition; study-abroad; syntax; embedded wh-questions; Cantonese
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