Acquisition of Chinese Compounds by Deaf Learners in Mainland China
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AbstractResearchers have found that compound awareness plays a central role in children’s vocabublary acquisition and literacy developmment (Chen et al., 2008), yet little is known about deaf learners’ compound awareness. A test of Chinese compounds was designed to investigate deaf compound awareness. In this presentation, we will focus on VV compounds (i.e., Resultative Verb Compound) and VO compounds. As part of the compound assessment, a grammaticality judgement task was used to test deaf learners’ awareness of separability of RVC and VO verb phrase that may be parsed as VO compounds by deaf learners. Participants include 479 deaf students from P3 (Year 3 of primary school) to S3 (Year 3 of secondary school) from deaf schools in Mainland China. A group of hearing students from P1 to P6 (Year 1 to Year 6 of primary school) also took part in the test. Two types of VV compound were tested in this study. According to the component of V2, they are classified as completive RVC (e.g., chidiao) and result-state RVC (e.g., qiekai). In order to examine deaf learners’ knowledge of compositionality, participants are asked to judge the grammaticality of the unseparated forms (e.g., qiekai-xigua, V1V2-O) and the separated forms (e.g., *qie-xigua-kai, V1-O-V2). Results showed that deaf students, especially those studying in primary school, are not as sensitive as hearing children in rejecting the ungrammatical V1-O-V2 forms. It seems that deaf learners adopt both endocentric compounding and verb-NP-particle structure, which according to Snyder’s TCP (the compounding parameter) are concurrently acquired by English-speaking and German-speaking children (Hanink & Snyder, 2014; Snyder, 2016). Even at S3, some deaf learners still accepted the separated forms, although they performed better in completive RVC (84% accuracy) than in result-state RVC (73% accuracy). The difference may be caused by the event interpretations of the RVC, as V2 is more salient than V1 for the result-state RVC in Mandarin-speaking children (Deng, 2010). For VO compound as intransitive (e.g., kaiche), results revealed that deaf students tended to consider it as transitive and permit a theme object, like ‘*kaiche-bashi’. The accuracy rate for rejecting an object is from 44% (P3) to 64% (S3) for deaf students in this study. In contrast, the accuracy rate of the hearing students 15 reached 80% at P2, and increased to 97% at P6. Another important finding is that more than 60% of the deaf students consistently accepted the ungrammatical utterances like ‘*kanshule-bantian’, and there was no improvement from P3 to S3, suggesting a stage of fossilization. According to Huang (2008), there is a V-to-v movement when generating a proposition like ‘kanle-bantian-shu’ (i.e., [vP kanle [VP [DP bantian] [V’ t shu]]]). It seems that deaf students regard ‘kanshu’ as an inseparatable VO compound, hence they moved the whole V’ to v, resulting in ‘*kanshule-bantian’, which is not acceptable in Chinese. In sum, this study reveals that deaf students are not sensitive to the compositionality of Chinese VV compound and wrongly interpret the VO structure as a transitive and inseparatable compound.
Acceptance Date02/12/2017
All Author(s) ListLi Q., Tang G.
Name of Conference2017 Annual Research Forum of Linguistics Society of Hong Kong
Start Date of Conference02/12/2017
End Date of Conference02/12/2017
Place of ConferenceHong Kong
Country/Region of ConferenceHong Kong
LanguagesEnglish-United Kingdom

Last updated on 2018-23-10 at 15:55