Authors

Ying CaiFollow

Document Type

Campus-Only Access for One (1) Year

Embargo Period

3-1-2018

Degree Program

Chinese

Degree Type

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Year Degree Awarded

2017

Month Degree Awarded

September

Advisor Name

Zhijun Wang

Abstract

This study aims to investigate the acquisition of verb-noun collocations in Chinese by learners who study Chinese as a foreign language. By conducting a survey, this research attempt to discuss the following issues. 1) Does learners’ acquisition of verb-noun collocations increase with years of learning? 2) Is learners’ acquisition of verb-noun collocations related to the usage frequency of the verbs? 3) Are there any differences between patient objects and non-patient objects in verb-noun collocation acquisitions? 4) Does natural L2 exposure have an impact on collocational competence?

Seven verbs are selected in this study, 看 kan, 开 kai, 做 zuo, 走 zou, 放 fang, 打 da, 带 dai. In order to answer the research questions, a survey which consisted of four parts was conducted. This survey was done in a public university in Massachusetts, USA. In total, 82 Chinese learners have participated in this study, and they were grouped into three instructional levels: Second-Year Chinese learners, Third-Year Chinese learners, and Fourth-Year Chinese learners.

The data in this research show that the use of collocations is related to learners’ language proficiency, and this study has identified a hook-shaped learning curve in the acquisition of verb-noun collocations. In addition, the frequency is significant to the verb-noun acquisition, and the usage frequency of verbs plays a vital role compared to nouns. Furthermore, at all three proficiency levels, learners had a higher accuracy rate with regard to patient objects in verb-noun collocations.

Collocations are problematic for learners who study Chinese as their foreign language; thus, it is essential for instructors to discuss effective teaching methodology for collocations. In this paper, some implications for teaching Chinese verb-noun collocations are provided by the researcher.

First Advisor

Zhongwei Shen

Second Advisor

Enhua Zhang

Third Advisor

Enhua Zhang

Available for download on Thursday, March 01, 2018

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