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Temporal Expressions in the Narrative Writing of Chinese Native Speakers and English Learners of Chinese
Chen, Fred J.
本研究以Smith和Erbaugh（2009）為理論基礎，結合前後景理論，整理母語者時間表達常模，並且進一步比較以英語為母語學習者與漢語母語者的異同，提出三個研究問題：1) 母語者與學習者使用時間名詞作為定位表現有何異同？2) 母語者與學習者時間推進中，形式和零形式使用有何差異？3) 母語者和學習者在使用時間推進與話題鏈時，有何差異？
Chinese and English are distinct in language typology. The Principle of Temporal Sequence is a typical order in Chinese while it is not in English. When it comes to temporal location, while English uses suffixes to mark the temporal relationship, Chinese expresses it by the lexical approach and context. Therefore, it is a worthwhile endeavor to explore the temporal expressions of English learners of Chinese. The present study based itself on the theoretical framework of temporal advancement advocated by Smith and Erbaugh (2009) in conjunction with Grounding Theory in order to investigate temporal expression variations in the writing of Chinese native speakers and English learners of Chinese. Three research questions have been formulated in this study: First, what are the differences between Chinese native speakers and English learners of Chinese in their use of time nouns for temporal orientation? Second, what are the differences between these two language groups in their use of overt and zero forms for time advancement? Third, what are the differences between the two groups in their interactive use of temporal advancement and topic chain? The data of the present study were collected from Chinese native speakers and English learners of Chinese. For the native data, 10 Chinese narrative writings were chosen from two travel books. As for the learner data, 18 learners were recruited from various universities in Taiwan. The learners were further categorized into three proficiency levels: Six intermediate, six intermediate high, and six advanced. The results of the analysis of this yield three major findings: First, the English learners of Chinese used more time nouns than Chinese native speakers. Additionally, the learners were not aware of the fact that Chinese time compound “Zhe4”could be used to express non-deictic meaning and refer to time in the past. Second, there was no significant difference between the two language groups in their use of overt and zero forms of temporal advancement. However, the learners were prone to use overt forms for temporal advancement, but they used much less regulative complements than the native speakers. Third, in the narrative writing of Chinese native speakers, more than half of the temporal advancement sentences overlapped with topic chains, but no such phenomenon was observed in those of the English learners. In the end, pedagogical implications were provided based on the results of this study.
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