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Title: Syntactic transfer in the English-Chinese bilingual
Authors: Koh, Kjelti XinXian
Keywords: DRNTU::Humanities
Issue Date: 2014
Abstract: Bilingual syntactic processing has two main schools of thought. One asserts that there are two separate systems of grammatical representation; the other claims that there is only one unified system of grammatical representation. Previous research has focused mainly on early bilinguals who do not have fully developed linguistic systems, as in Yip and Matthews (2000), or on languages that share highly similar syntactic structures, such as Spanish and English (Hartsuiker, Pickering & Veltkamp, 2004). More research needs to be done on early bilinguals who have fully developed linguistic systems, and who speak languages that differ greatly structurally, such as English and Chinese. In this study, the passive construction was used for the test sentences. Twenty-three 18-25 year-old English-Chinese bilinguals were put through three experimental phases; the first determined their fluency in Chinese, the second required them to rate a group of Chinese sentences on acceptability. The third phase then asked for their acceptability rating on a different group of Chinese sentences, but after being primed by English sentences. It was found that the English priming had a statistically significant effect on the increase of acceptability of some of the Chinese (ungrammatical) sentences, which were constructed based on their English counterparts. It was also found that the syntactic priming could also be largely attributed to the imbalance of the participants’ bilingualism, and as such syntactic transfer from English to Chinese was possible. These results indicate that the linguistic systems within the bilingual have considerable overlap, even for structures that are dissimilar.
Schools: School of Humanities and Social Sciences 
Rights: Nanyang Technological University
Fulltext Permission: restricted
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:HSS Student Reports (FYP/IA/PA/PI)

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