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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    



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.

June 30, 2020
May 29, 2020
March 2, 2020

Keywords: Learner corpusItalian L1 learnersCross-sectional studyDouble-nominative constructionsInhibitive transferChinese SLA

Copyright: © 2020 Anna Morbiato. This is an open-access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction is permitted, provided that the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. The license allows for commercial use. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.