Zero-Marking of o and Interlanguage: the Case of Chinese L2 Speakers of Japanese

by Kenjiro Matsuda

In this second report on the interlanguage variation project I analyze the zero-marking of o in the natural speech of Chinese L2 speakers of Japanese. Following the same methodology as that of Matsuda (2001) for Korean L2 speakers of Japanese, I showed that among the several factors examined (NP-V adjacency, the form of the object NP, the humanness of the object NP and the proficiency level of the speaker measured as OPI level) the proficiency level of the speaker is the only significant factor. However, each level maintains the difference in NP form, so that each group zero-marks lexical NP more often than they do pronouns. This then clearly indicates the persistent nature of the NP form effect, a fact that can be easily accounted for if we accepted its universality as hypothesized in Matsuda (2001). Lastly, the W-curve distribution by the proficiency level (which presumably caused the high statistical significance) finds an independent explanation in general adaptation/learning processes.

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