S-Space Language Education Institute (언어교육원) Language Research (어학연구) Language Research (어학연구) Volume 50 Number 1/3 (2014)
Language learners retrieval strategies as shown in topic-controlled deletion in topic chains: A comparison between Chinese and Korean native speakers interlanguages
- Lee, Sunhee
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 언어교육원
- 어학연구, Vol.50 No.1, pp. 91-119
- In Chinese, a topic-prominent language, pronouns are often omitted in favor of zero-anaphora. Therefore, Chinese-learners who are speakers of subject-prominent languages, like English, often repeat clause-initial pro-forms when speaking Chinese. However, it is unclear how the speakers of topic-prominent languages, such as Korean and Chinese, acquire zero-anaphora of second language. We investigated whether Korean- and Chinese-speakers naturally delete pro-forms when learning each others language and analyzing their writing and speaking. If positive transfer occurs when they acquire topic-related deletion, then written and spoken deletion should be similar. However, zero-anaphora emerging differently between written and spoken words must be a result of various cognitive strategies not affected by positive transfer. We observed 20 Korean- and 12 Chinese-learners for six months. All Chinese- and Korean-learners could delete topic-related pronouns in written text. Unlike English-speaking Chinese-learners, deletion occurred by positive transfer among Chinese-speaking Korean-learners and vice versa. Further, although the written task preceded the oral task, the participants deleted more pronouns in the written task. We think that learners switch codes using different strategies while writing and speaking. A psychological mechanism, not grammatical knowledge, plays a role: learners repeat pronouns to buy time to improve their discourse, in a so-called recharging strategy.