The Acquisition of English Anaphoric Expressions by Adult Chinese Speakers.J Psycholinguist Res. 2020 Jul 04 [Online ahead of print]JP
The present study has investigated the occurrence of the English anaphoric expressions, he/she, in L2 grammars. Adult Chinese learners of English were evaluated on whether they were able to provide a correct semantic interpretation of these pronouns when they appeared in complex sentences (subordinate + matrix) and correlative structures. Results have shown that L2 learners did not encounter any major difficulties in identifying the appropriate antecedents of these pronominal forms and were almost as accurate as English native speakers. This positive acquisition scenario clearly indicates that a correct reference production of English anaphors is attainable despite the visible differences between the two languages. Theoretically, it seems to support some form of Continuity in SLA; it is also consistent with the idea that internal interface phenomena are fully acquirable and are not subject to fossilization (Interface Theory, Sorace in Biling Lang Cogn 7:143-145, 2004; Linguist Approaches Biling 1:1-33, 2011). Furthermore, L2 structures partially present in L1 grammar are attainable without necessarily relying on learners' first language (contra Failed Functional Features Hypothesis, Hawkins and Chan in Second Lang Res 13:187-226, 1997). In fact, contrary to previous L2 studies, no visible L1 transfer effects were observed in the data.