Document Type

Campus-Only Access for Five (5) Years

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Degree Program


Degree Type

Master of Arts (M.A.)

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Month Degree Awarded



This paper adopted second language acquisition theories and research methods to investigate how second-language (L2) Chinese learners acquire Chinese directional complements (DCs). It included two main parts: a corpus study and a questionnaire survey. The corpus came from the compositions of 47 Chinese learners at intermediate and advanced levels at a New England university. And the data also included the questionnaire survey of 82 novice, intermediate, and advanced levels’ Chinese learners and 15 native Chinese speakers who study in the same university. The corpus study shows that L2 learners at intermediate and advanced level preferred to use DCs with extended meanings. Moreover, they preferred to combine verb with DC as an entirety rather than placing the object between verb and DC. The error analysis based on the survey data shows that omission errors of DCs accounted for the largest percentage, the percentage of misordering errors and misuse errors were very close, and addition errors were limited. Moreover, a relative acquisition sequence was constructed according to accuracy rate and the usage rate. This acquisition sequence reflects several phenomena: 1) the position of the object influenced the acquisition significantly; 2) some errors were caused vi by interlingual transfer 3) DCs with extended meanings were easier than DCs with directional meanings in some cases; 4) the type of DC was not an important factor to affect the acquisition sequence; 5) L2 learners’ comprehension competence was better than the expression competence at all level; 6)and some DC patterns’ average accuracy increased at higher level, however, the errors of certain DC patterns were fossilized. Since the presentation of the DCs in the textbooks can impact the acquisition. The researcher evaluated the presentation of DCs in participants’ textbooks. There were some deficiencies, such as overwhelming introduction in one lesson, repeating introduction of the same DC, and so on. At last, some implications to teaching DCs were provided based on the findings in previous chapters.

First Advisor

Zhijun Wang