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East Asian Linguistics/Pedagogy Roundtable: Junghwan Maeng “L1 and L2 Processing of Chinese Separable VO Compounds” + Zhi-ling Lien “Effects of Parallel Structure on Word Segmentation of Chinese Readers”

Event Type
ceaps brown bag, linguistics, pedagogy
Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies; Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures
1080 Foreign Languages Building (707 S. Mathews Ave., Urbana)
Nov 15, 2019   12:00 - 1:30 pm  
Junghwan Maeng, Zhi-ling Lien (EALC, UIUC)
Registration (light lunch provided with registration)
Yuchia Chang

L1 and L2 Processing of Chinese Separable VO Compounds in Self-paced Reading (Junghwan Maeng)


This research examines how Chinese separable VO compounds are processed by L1 and L2 Chinese speakers during sentence reading. While most Chinese VV compounds are considered inseparable due to the high level of lexicalization, VO compounds can be separated into phrases via syntactic reanalysis. In this research, an experiment using a self-paced reading task was conducted to examine whether VO compounds are processed as phrases or words when they are embedded in sentential contexts. It is possible that the presence of a subject preceding VO compounds may induce participants to process them as phrases and decompose them into individual morphemes with syntactic processing activated in advance. 32 L1 Chinese and 32 L2 speakers were recruited for the experiment. After the self-paced reading experiment, both L1 and L2 participants were asked to complete an acceptability judgment task to measure their explicit knowledge regarding separated VO compounds. The analysis of acceptability judgement task will allow us to examine whether L2 learners have native-like knowledge pertaining to the separability of VO compounds. Furthermore, analyses of reading times on VO and VV compounds will be conducted to examine whether the results from the lexical decision task can be replicated in the self-paced reading paradigm. The reading time analyses are expected to provide meaningful evidence with respect to the underlying structure of separable VO compounds stored in L1 and L2 mental lexicon. Furthermore, any difference observed between L1 and L2 response times will also help us better understand the non-native processing of Chinese dimorphemic compounds.    


Junghwan Maeng is a Phd student in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. He earned his BA in Chinese Language and Literature at Seoul National University and received MA in East Asian Studies at University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. His research interests include Chinese psycholinguistics, second language acquisition, morphology and corpus linguistics.



Effects of Parallel Structures on Word Segmentation of Chinese Readers (Zhi-ling Lien)


While it is generally conceived that a word is the smallest meaningful unit in a language, there is no concept of a word that is universally applicable (Packard, 2000, p. 7). For instance, if asked the number of words in a sentence, there is often no disagreement among
people using an alphabetic writing system like English. However, in a monosyllabic writing system such as Chinese, the answer may vary since there are no explicit criteria which can truly dene the linguistic construct of a word (Packard, 2000). Different from the previous studies, examining the inconsistency in word segmentation of at the word-level, the present study focuses on the in uence of parallel structure on word segmentation of Chinese readers. There were two tasks in the experiment. In the rst task, subjects were asked to insert "/" (paper version) or a blank (electronic version) between words in 126 sentences. Three conditions were compared: (1) critical word in non-parallel structure, (2) critical word in parallel structure, and (3) critical word in parallel structure with an inseparable control word. In the second task, subjects lled in a survey regarding their concept of a "word." Questions in the survey were made based on CCLWSSIP, the
national standard of Chinese word segmentation in China. The experiments revealed that words in parallel structures, especially those with inseparable control word (i.e. condition 3) were segmented signicantly different from words in non-parallel structure sentences. Limitations and applications in second language acquisition will be discussed.


Zhi-ling Lien is a third-year Ph.D. student in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, where she explores
topics related to Chinese Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition (SLA), including how the Chinese language is processed under different reading and discourse contexts. She obtained her B.A. degree in English and teaching certicates from National Chengchi University and her M.A. degree in SLA from the University of Maryland, College Park.


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