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Voluntary Motion Events in French Learners of L2 Chinese: Manner verbs, Path verbs or neither?

Abstract : Over the last twenty years, a number of studies have examined expression of motion events in Chinese within different fields of linguistics such as typology, dialectology or diachrony (e.g., Chen & Guo 2010, Chu 2004, Ji 2009, Kan 2010, Lamarre 2003, Li 1997, Shi 2014, Zeng 2014). A growing number of studies in the field of second language acquisition also analyzed how adult foreign language learners encode spatial relations in various Indo-European languages (e.g., Cadierno 2004, 2008, 2010; Hendriks & Hickmann 2011; Hendriks et al. 2008; Larrañaga et al. 2012; Sharpen 2016; Stam 2015). However, only a limited number of studies investigated L2 Chinese (see Author 2015; Chen 2005; Wu 2011, 2014; Paul 2014; Ji & Hohenstein 2014). In the present study, we will discuss how Talmy’s (2000) typological framework of motion events provides a productive basis for the inquiry of how adult language learners come to express motion in L2. If acquiring a native language involves learning particular ways of thinking-for-speaking (Slobin 1996), learning the characteristic lexicalization patterns of a target language that are different from the source language should present some difficulties to learners. We address this question by examining how French-speaking learners acquire the expression of voluntary motion events in L2 Chinese (verb-framed vs. satellite-framed language), focusing on the use of motion and non-motion verbs and on the lexicalization patterns of the motion verbs (Path verb vs. Manner verb). The procedure used consists of the analysis of an oral corpus collected from 5 different groups of informants (N=114): French and Chinese native speakers (NS), as well as learners of L2 Chinese at three proficiency levels (low, intermediate and advanced). The stimulus of the elicited task is a comic strip composed of ten plates of four drawings, including eight target items and two distractors. The narrative is a quest during which the main character meets new protagonists, all of them coming out onto the scene unexpectedly (boundary crossing situations). The results show that 1) Chinese, French NS and advanced learners essentially describe the appearance of the new protagonists with motion verbs, while the low and intermediate leaners make more use of non-motion verbs (e.g., 有 yǒu ‘be’ or 看到 kàndào ‘see’); 2) like French NS with sortir ‘exit’, the three groups of leaners dominantly use the Path verb 出 chū ‘exit’ (mostly with the deictic directional complement来 lái ‘hither’), where Chinese NS use Manner verbs (e.g., 跑 pǎo ‘run’ or 跳 tiào ‘jump’, followed by the Path directional complement 出 chū ‘out’. The results reveal that there is no typological difference in respect to the selection between motion or non-motion verbs among Chinese and French NS, which means that the choice carried out by the learners may be related to their general linguistic development in L2. Regarding the lexicalization patterns of the motion verbs, there is a seemingly conceptual transfer from L1 (verb-framed) to L2 (satellite-framed patterns). As Slobin (1996) stated, the thinking-for-speaking in L2 seems resistant to restructuring even at an advanced level. Arslangul, A. (2015). How French Learners of Chinese L2 Express Motion Events in Narratives. In D. Xu & J. Fu (Eds.), Space and Quantification in Languages of China (165-187). Dordrecht: Springer. Cadierno, T. (2004). Expressing Motion Events in a Second Language: a Cognitive Typological Perspective. In M. Achard & S. Niemeier (Eds.), Cognitive Linguistics, Second Language Acquisition, and Foreign Language Teaching (13-49). Berlin, New York: Mouton de Gruyter. Cadierno, T. (2008). Learning to talk about motion in a foreign language. In P. Robinson & N. C. Ellis (Eds.), Handbook in Cognitive Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition (239-275). New York, London: Routledge. Cadierno, T. (2010). Motion in Danish as a second language: Does the learner’s L1 make a difference? In Z. Han & T. Cadierno (Eds.), Linguistic relativity in SLA: Thinking for speaking (1-33). Bristol, Buffalo, Toronto: Multilingual Matters. Chen, L. (2005). The Acquisition and Use of Motion Event Expressions in Chinese. Ph.D, University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Chen, L., & Guo, J. (2010). From language structures to language use. A case from Mandarin motion expression classification. Chinese Language and Discourse 1(1), 31-65. Chu, C. (2004). Event conceptualization and grammatical realization: The case of motion in Mandarin Chinese. Ph.D, University of Hawai’i. Hendriks, H., & Hickmann, M. (2011). Expressing voluntary motion in a second language: English learners of French. In V. Cook & B. Bassetti (Eds.), Language and Bilingual Cognition (315-339). Hove, UK: Psychology Press. Hendriks, H., Hickmann, M., & Demagny, A.-C. (2008). How adult English learners of French express caused motion: A comparison with English and French natives. Acquisition et Interaction en Langue Étrangère 27, 15-41. Ji, Y. (2009). The expression of voluntary and caused motion events in Chinese and in English: Typological and developmental perspectives. Ph.D, University of Cambridge. Ji, Y., & Hohenstein, J. (2014). The syntactic packaging of caused motion components in a second language: English learners of Chinese. Lingua 140, 100-116. Kan, Z. 阚哲华. (2010). 汉语位移事件词汇化的语言类型探究. 当代语言学 12(2), 126-135. Lamarre, C. (2003). 汉语空间位移事件的语言表达——兼论述趋式的几个问题. 现代中国语研究 5, 1-18. Larrañaga, P., Treffers-Daller, J., Tidball, F., & Gil Ortega, M.-C. (2012). L1 transfer in the acquisition of manner and path in Spanish by native speakers of English. International Journal of Bilingualism 16(1), 117-138. Li, F. (1997). Cross-linguistic Lexicalization Patterns: Diachronic Evidence from Verb-complement Compounds in Chinese. Sprachtypologie Und Universalienforschung 3, 229-252. Paul, J. Z. (2014). Expressing Caused Motion Events in L2 Chinese: The Case of Learning a Language That Is Typologically Similar to the Learners’ L1. In N. Jiang (Ed.), Advances in Chinese as a Second Language (271-298). Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. Sharpen, R. (2016). L1 conceptual transfer in the acquisition of L2 motion events in Spanish and English: The thinking-for-speaking hypothesis. Open Linguistics 2(1), 235-252. Shi, W. 史文磊. (2014). 汉语运动事件词化类型的历时考察. 北京: 商务印书馆. Slobin, D. I. (1996). From “thougt and language” to “thinking for speaking.” In J. J. Gumperz & S. C. Levinson (Eds.), Rethinking linguistic relativity (70-96). Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press. Stam, G. (2015). Changes in thinking for speaking: A longitudinal case study. Modern Language Journal 99(S1), 83-99. Talmy, L. (2000). Toward a cognitive semantics. Cambridge MA: MIT Press. Wu, S.-L. (2011). Learning to express motion events in an L2: The case of Chinese directional complements. Language Learning 61(2), 414-454. Wu, S.-L. (2014). Influence of L1 Thinking for Speaking on Use of an L2: The Case of Path Expressions by English-Speaking Learners of Chinese. In Z. Han (Ed.), Studies in Second Language Acquisition of Chinese (1-29). Bristol, Buffalo, Toronto: Multilingual Matters. Zeng, C. 曾传禄 (2014). 现代汉语位移空间的认知研究. 北京: 商务印书馆.
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Arnaud Arslangul. Voluntary Motion Events in French Learners of L2 Chinese: Manner verbs, Path verbs or neither?. Seminar on Linguistic Typology and the Expressions of Motion Events in Languages in China, Dec 2018, Changshu, China. ⟨hal-01995726⟩



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