Learning and Representation of L2 Synonymous Syntactic Constructions

2023 Faculty Colloquia Program

The Faculty Colloquia Program, hosted by the Center for Global Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, stands as a dynamic platform within our academic community, fostering intellectual exchange and collaboration among faculty members. Scholars present current research in an informal setting, with ample opportunity for discussion, feedback, and questions. Join us as we delve into a wide range of thought-provoking topics.

Headshot of Xiaoming HouIn recent years, there has been increasing interest in comparing the learning and representation of synonymous syntactic constructions between first language (L1) speakers and second language (L2) learners. It has generally been found that while L1 speakers are sensitive to the subtle differences between the synonymous syntactic constructions, such sensitivity is lacking in L2 learners. In this colloquium, Professor Hou will share results from two experiments where he found the unbalanced learning of two Chinese synonymous syntactic constructions, namely the Ba-construction and its SVO counterpart. When the two constructions were not differentiated in learners’ L1, the learning of the more novel Ba-construction was attenuated. As a result, learners tended to avoid using the Ba-construction at the initial learning stage and appeared to represent the two constructions in a more interchangeable fashion at later stages of learning. Pedagogical implications of these results will also be discussed.

Thursday, November 30, 4:15 – 5:30pm
Hollander Hall 241