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Research Article

Acquisition of Double-Nominative Constructions by Italian L1 Learners of Chinese

A Cross-Sectional Corpus Study

Anna Morbiato    Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia, Italia; The University of Sydney, Australia     ORCID iD



This paper presents new results of an ongoing cross-sectional corpus study investigating the acquisition of Chinese word order by Italian L1 learners. Specifically, it focuses on the acquisition of ‘double-nominative constructions’, as well as the correct sequential organisation of topical and focal information in the Chinese sentence. The analysis is conducted on three learner corpora, created by the Author on the basis of a test submitted to three groups of university (BA and MA)-level Italian L1 learners of Chinese, for a total of 132 learners. Quantitative and qualitative analysis conducted on the collected data show that, while the double-subject construction may appear as a simple and straightforward pattern, it is in fact a rather difficult construction to acquire and spontaneously produce for Italian L1 learners. Rather, students tend to use patterns they are used to in their L1 (or other L2s, such as English). These include the [NP1 have NP2], [NP1 的 NP2], or [NP1 adjectival predicate] patterns, among other types, thus confirming the inhibitive L1 transfer hypotheses of this study.

Keywords: Chinese SLA. Double-nominative constructions. Cross-sectional study. Learner corpus. Italian L1 learners. Inhibitive transfer.

Language: en

Submitted: March 2, 2020   Accepted: May 29, 2020   Published: June 30, 2020  

permalink: http://doi.org/10.30687/AnnOr/2385-3042/2020/56/015

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