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First Language Acquisition of Chinese Discourse Marker Wo Juede
First Language Acquisition
While extensive research has been conducted on how adult native speakers take advantage of one of the most frequently-used Chinese discourse markers, wo juede, in their stance-takings, far too little attention has, until now, been paid to examine the first language acquisition of such a marker of epistemicity. Therefore, this study seeks to explore the way children at the concrete-operational stage acquire wo juede to fulfill a total of seven pragmatic functions within a variety of given contexts. Both quantitative and qualitative research methods were employed, and more specifically, sixty participants, inclusive of forty-five children and fifteen adults, partook in one production task with four missions through group discussion. Not merely was many a statistical test undergone quantitatively, but discourse analysis was performed qualitatively in the process. Experimental results showed that the Child and Adult groups were more inclined to utilize wo juede in argumentative genre than in discursive genre. Moreover, all of them much preferred commenting wo juede (T3). Their capabilities of carrying out four wo juede functions suggested itself a stage of development; for example, from G1 to G2, T4 (speculating) and T5 (suggesting) emerged, and from G2 to G3, T7 (expressing afterthoughts) emerged. T6 (concluding) was still not yet acquired by any of the Child groups. Furthermore, wo juede was found to be more likely to occur in the pre-position (T1~T6) rather than post-position (T7), based on its regular patterns. In sum, the present study has not only broadened a growing understanding of discourse markers in the Chinese language, but also shed bright lights on wo juede in L1 acquisition pedagogically.
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