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IJIET 2018 Vol.8(11): 779-785 ISSN: 2010-3689
doi: 10.18178/ijiet.2018.8.11.1139

Transfer Explanation of Markedness to Learning Difficulty of Preposition Pied Piping in Dative Relative Clause Construction

Jianhong Yang

Abstract—In this study, 262 Chinese-speaking English learners have been randomly sampled as subjects by stratified sampling in terms of their natural groups (i.e., schools, majors or grades) to demonstrate their transformation of dative wh-question into relative clause construction. Based on the acquisition data collected, the conclusive implication is predictably analogous to that of dative wh-question alternation. To elaborate, the marked PS occurs before its unmarked counterpart PPP, which is obviously incompatible with the markedness hypothesis, however, conforming to the syntactically termed economy principle adopted generally to account for an otherwise unexplained phenomenon from a markedness perspective. As far as the structure of the items is concerned, learners tend to take No-prep. strategy (omitting the preposition at all) corresponding to the stimulus sentences categorized under certain type. Thus, the acquisitional sequence in real time is: PS < No-Prep. < PPP. Chi-square test suggests that the difference between the acquisitional sequence and English proficiency level of subjects is significant, so is the difference between the acquisitional sequence and the structure of the stimulus sentences. Furthermore, PPP shares a higher percentage in relative clauses than that in wh-questions, which is accounted for as the influence of topic-command structure, a usual sentence type in Chinese defined as the topic-prominent language. Besides, the markedness status of who and whom also exerts its influence on the acquisitional sequence, which provides the prerequisite for the construction of the processing acquiring mechanism hypothesis. It is suggested in conclusion that items may as well be inputted in the form of routines, rather patterns.

Index Terms—Markedness theory, preposition pied piping, processing acquiring mechanism hypothesis, topic-command structure.

Jianhong Yang is with Tianjin University, Renai College, Tianjin, CO 301636 China (e-mail: tianjinjianhongyang@hotmail.com).


Cite: Jianhong Yang, "Transfer Explanation of Markedness to Learning Difficulty of Preposition Pied Piping in Dative Relative Clause Construction," International Journal of Information and Education Technology vol. 8, no. 11, pp. 779-785, 2018.

General Information

  • ISSN: 2010-3689 (Online)
  • Abbreviated Title: Int. J. Inf. Educ. Technol.
  • Frequency: Monthly
  • DOI: 10.18178/IJIET
  • Editor-in-Chief: Prof. Dr. Steve Thatcher
  • Executive Editor: Ms. Nancy Y. Liu
  • Abstracting/ Indexing: Scopus (CiteScore 2022: 2.0), INSPEC (IET), UGC-CARE List (India), CNKI, EBSCO, Google Scholar
  • E-mail: ijiet@ejournal.net


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