A study of Swedish speakers' learning of Chinese noun classifiers
Gao, Helena H.
Date of Issue2010
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Chinese noun classifiers are an obligatory category associated with nouns. Studies have shown that achieving a full understanding and good mastery of Chinese noun classifiers is difficult for both young and adult L2 learners. This study examines the learning strategies used by 30 Swedish adults for a period of two months. Their learning results are compared to 30 bilingual children's production of Chinese noun classifiers. The adult learners exhibit a normal top–down learning fashion, in which they fail to acquire the complex semantic and cognitive meanings embedded in the classifiers. The children, on the other hand, apply cognitive strategies with a bottom–up approach. The adults’ learning of classifiers lags surprisingly far behind their general level of Chinese proficiency. This study can be used as a reference for future studies on the conceptual and cognitive aspects of Chinese language acquisition by speakers whose native languages are not classifier languages.
Nordic journal of linguistics
© 2010 Nordic Association of Linguistics. This paper was published in Nordic Journal of Linguistics and is made available as an electronic reprint (preprint) with permission of Nordic Association of Linguistics. The paper can be found at the following official DOI: [http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0332586510000156]. One print or electronic copy may be made for personal use only. Systematic or multiple reproduction, distribution to multiple locations via electronic or other means, duplication of any material in this paper for a fee or for commercial purposes, or modification of the content of the paper is prohibited and is subject to penalties under law.