The expression of caused motion by French learners of Chinese L2: semantic encoding and syntactic st


主讲人:Arnaud Arslangul 法国国立东方语言文化学院副教授





Space is an important domain of our cognitive system, which develops in children from an early age on and is often considered to be universal. However, languages vary greatly in the way they encode static and dynamic space. Much research conducted within the framework proposed by Talmy (2000) analyzed the expression of Path in voluntary motion. However, few studies have examined caused motion, especially in languages that are sometimes considered to be “equipollent” such as Chinese (Slobin 2004). Typological differences between languages also raise questions about the process of second language acquisition: do the typological properties of the source language influence motion expression in the target language? What developments can we expect in this area during the acquisition of a foreign language? To answer these questions, the present study examines how French learners of Chinese L2 at two proficiency levels (24 intermediate, 12 advanced) encode caused motion events in comparison to native speakers of Chinese (Ji 2009; Ji et al. 2011) and of French (Hickmann & Hendriks 2010; Harr 2012; Demagny 2015). It is based on an oral corpus consisting of descriptions of 32 animated clips showing an agent moving objects in various ways and according to four different Paths. Responses were analyzed according to (1) the semantic components used (cause, path, manner), (2) the density of the utterances (number of different semantic components within an utterance), (3) the linguistic means (verb or others) used by speakers when encoding motion components, particularly Cause and Path, as well as (4) the syntactic structures in which they occurred (simple, complex, distributed). The results show first that (a) French native speakers mainly use complex syntactic structures in which they encode either Path or Cause in the main verb and use subordinate clauses with a gerund to express the simultaneity of Sub-events (ex 1-2). In addition, this variability depends on the type of Path described (Demagny 2015). (b) Second, Chinese native speakers use a simple syntactic structure with Cause in the verb and Path in the satellite (the “directional verb resultative”, ex 3), but also complex syntactic structures with Cause outside of the verb in a subordinate clause (ex 4). (c) Intermediate learners have difficulties selecting linguistic means of encoding Cause and Path. They produce mainly simple structures, but also complex structures as well as an idiosyncratic structure (ex 5) that is similar to a serial verbal construction, involving two verbs used in concatenation (VC + NPFig + VP + NPGr).1 This atypical structure has already been observed in English learners of Chinese L2 (Ji & Hohenstein 2014). (d) Advanced learners mainly use complex structures (ex 4), even more frequently than Chinese native speakers. In conclusion, even at a high level of proficiency, learners encode Path in verbs rather than in directional verb resultatives. This lexicalization pattern invites them to choose a complex syntactic structure that is closer to their L1 and allows them to avoid the use of a satellite to encode Path. It would be interesting to carry out future research to test the cognitive implications of these results on speakers’ representations of motion events. 1 Abbreviations: V: main verb, O: other devices, D: directional verb resultative, NP: nominal phrase, PFV: perfective aspect, CL: classifiers, C: Cause, P: Path, M: Manner, Fig: Figure, Gr: Ground. 2/2 1) Il traverse [VP] la rue [NPGr] en tirant [OC+M] un cheval de bois [NPFig]. 3SG cross the street pulling a wooden horse ‘He crosses the street pulling a wooden horse.’ 2) Il pousse [VC+M] une bouée [NPFig] en montant [OP] la colline [NPGr]. 3SG push a buoy climbing the hill ‘He pushes a buoy climbing the hill.’ 3) 他 把 轮子 [NPFig] 推过 [VCDP] 马路 [NPGr]。 4) 他 推 [OC] 着 一 个 箱子 [NPFig] 上 [VP] 了 房顶 [NPGr]。 5) *他 拉 [VC] 一个箱子 [NPFig] 下 [VP] 山 [NPGr]。