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Thursday, October 10 • 4:25pm - 4:50pm
Li: Object pronominal expression in L2 Mandarin Chinese

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Object pronominal expression in L2 Mandarin Chinese

Mandarin Chinese allows null form in object position as the following example indicates.

Shànghăi, wŏ qù guò Ø
Shanghai, I go EXP Ø
I have been to Shanghai。

This is the first variationist study to investigate L2 Chinese null object use in oral discourse and compare with native speaker patterns. Multivariate analysis of almost four thousand L2 Chinese tokens and over 3,700 L1 tokens revealed that learner patterns are similar to native speakers’ on most dimensions except that they tend to overuse overt objects. Specifically, coreference and object animacy are the two main constraints of L2 Chinese null object use. Other significant factors include speech mode, length of stay in China, referent specificity, learners’ L1, and proficiency level. The results indicate that the learners have acquired the Chinese null object use pattern rather successfully, but still need work on using null forms to further develop their sociolinguistic competence.
Session abstract: Variation in Second and Heritage Language Speech: Cross-linguistic Perspectives
This session brings together scholars working on the acquisition of sociolinguistic variation in a variety of non-dominant languages. The first paper outlines how such studies can contribute to sociolinguistic theory. The next papers examine the influence of Indonesian on children’s Javanese and the influence of English and communication networks on Diné Bizaad (Navajo). Other studies focus on the acquisition of sociolinguistic competence by U.S. students in France and the acquisition of the constraints on object deletion in Mandarin. The final study examines the (non)-acquisition of a socially stigmatized variant by Spanish L1 speakers in Catalonia. Taken together, the papers in this session illustrate the contributions to our understanding of the effects of language contact on second and heritage languages and to identifying the types of linguistic and social factors that are common across contexts or pairs of languages and those that are specific to particular languages or social contexts.


Xiaoshi Li

Michigan State University

Thursday October 10, 2019 4:25pm - 4:50pm PDT
EMU Gumwood