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An investigation of the maintenance and attrition of the ba-construction by native speakers of Chinese in the UK

CAI, BINGXIN (2022) An investigation of the maintenance and attrition of the ba-construction by native speakers of Chinese in the UK. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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Abstract

This thesis investigates first language (L1) attrition effects in unbalanced Mandarin bilingual speakers at their early stages of migration in the UK. These bilingual speakers had very short second language (L2) immersion experience (with length of residence (LoR) 0.5-6 years) and self-rated less proficient in L2. They reported using both Mandarin and English frequently for daily life. This thesis examines whether their L1 Mandarin undergoes any attrition effect at such early stages of migration. The unbalanced Mandarin bilinguals were compared to native speakers of Mandarin from their homeland in the perception of different properties of a Mandarin-specific linguistic structure. Results showed the bilingual speakers exhibited more uncertainty in selecting contextually felicitous construction and less accepting of the more marked condition of ba as differential object maker (DOM) as well as the more marked construction of expressions of displacement. These findings suggest that attrition effects can be detected in unbalanced bilingual speakers who are less proficient in L2 and immersed in the L2 environment fairly for just a very short period. In terms of the potential triggers for their norm-divergent performance, results from this thesis indicate a process of simplification of a linguistic phenomenon rather than cross-linguistic influence (language transfer) from English.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: ba-construction; first language attrition; bilingualism
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Language and Linguistics, Department of
Depositing User: Bingxin Cai
Date Deposited: 04 May 2022 08:47
Last Modified: 04 May 2022 08:47
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/32779

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