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Perfective marking in L2 Mandarin: agreement with inherent lexical aspect or the derived Sentential Aspectual class?

Bell, D. and Wright, C. (2015) Perfective marking in L2 Mandarin: agreement with inherent lexical aspect or the derived Sentential Aspectual class? Newcastle and Northumbria Working Papers in Linguistics, 21 (2). pp. 1-24. ISSN 2041 -1057

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Abstract/Summary

This study evaluates the differing claims of the Aspect Hypothesis (Anderson & Shirai 1996) and the Sentential Aspect Hypothesis (Sharma & Deo 2009) for perfective marking by L1 English learners of Mandarin. The AH predicts a narrow focus on inherent lexical aspect (the verb and predicate) in determining the use of the perfective marker le, whilst the SAH suggests that – subject to L1 influence – perfective marking agrees with the final derived aspectual class of the sentence. To test these claims data were collected using a controlled le-insertion task, combined with oral corpus data. The results show that learners’ perfective marking patterns with the sentential aspectual class and not inherent lexical aspect (where these differ), and that overall the sentential aspectual class better predicts learners’ assignment of perfective marking than lexical aspect.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism (CeLM)
Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > English Language and Applied Linguistics
ID Code:49689
Publisher:University of Newcastle Centre for Research in Linguistics and Language Sciences

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