Learning a new verb in Mandarin Chinese: The effect of affectedness condition and phonological shape

Hin Tat CHEUNG, Li HSIEH

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

This study examined the effects of affectedness and phonological shape in learning a new verb. Forty-eight Chinese children and sixteen adults were taught novel verbs, referring to an action of transferring a bag of marbles onto a box. One of the control conditions is the surface of the box: (i) remained intact or (ii) was broken by the marbles. The novel verb was presented either in a mono-syllabic form or a bi-syllabic form. Subjects' preference in coding the novel verb's syntactic object was elicited by asking questions on the box or on the marbles. In their responses, both adults and older children coded the syntactic object of the novel verb according to the focus of the question and the semantic information. When the novel verb was presented in a mono-syllabic form, most adults and some of the older children supplied their own resultative morphemes such as 'broken' and attached it to the end of the novel verb in their answers. These results suggested that both adults and children paid attention to the aspectual properties of Chinese verbs. They considered the mono-syllabic verb an activity verb and made use of resultative morphemes to form a new compound verb. Younger children, however, displayed difficulties in this regard.
本硏究探討動詞的音節以及在語境中呈現的事物受影響程度在動詞學習過程中所産生的作用。在實驗中,48位小孩和16位成人個別的學習四個虛擬動詞。這幾個動詞所指的動作是:一袋彈珠從實驗者手中轉移到一個盒子上面。四個詞的差異是音節數(單/雙音節)和盒子的表面(不變/受損)。受試者使用剛學過的虛擬詞來回答有關彈珠和盒子的問題,從回答中了解他們在選擇這些詞的直接賓語上的偏好。結果發現,成人和年齡較大的小孩都是以問題的焦點和語境中呈現的事物受影響程度爲主要考慮。在使用單音節虛擬詞時,大部份的成人和部份的小孩都在虛擬詞後面加上一個補語,如‘破’。這項結果顯示受試者都注意到漢語動詞在動貌上的特點。他們可能認爲單音節虛擬詞是個動作詞 (activity verb),所以會補充一個補語,複合成一個動補動詞。 Copyright © 1997 Journal of Chinese Linguistics. All Rights Reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-40
JournalJournal of Chinese Linguistics
Volume25
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1997

Fingerprint

affectedness
learning
coding
semantics
Affectedness
Mandarin Chinese
Verbs
linguistics

Citation

Cheung, H., & Hsieh, L. (1997). Learning a new verb in Mandarin Chinese: The effect of affectedness condition and phonological shape. Journal of Chinese Linguistics, 25(1), 21-40.

Keywords

  • Alt. title: 影響動詞學習的兩個因素:音節和事物受影響程度