Commenced in January 2007
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Edition: International
Paper Count: 3

Chinese Language Related Abstracts

3 An Experimental Study of Scalar Implicature Processing in Chinese

Authors: Liu Si, Wang Chunmei, Liu Huangmei

Abstract:

A prominent component of the semantic versus pragmatic debate, scalar implicature (SI) has been gaining great attention ever since it was proposed by Horn. The constant debate is between the structural and pragmatic approach. The former claims that generation of SI is costless, automatic, and dependent mostly on the structural properties of sentences, whereas the latter advocates both that such generation is largely dependent upon context, and that the process is costly. Many experiments, among which Katsos’s text comprehension experiments are influential, have been designed and conducted in order to verify their views, but the results are not conclusive. Besides, most of the experiments were conducted in English language materials. Katsos conducted one off-line and three on-line text comprehension experiments, in which the previous shortcomings were addressed on a certain extent and the conclusion was in favor of the pragmatic approach. We intend to test the results of Katsos’s experiment in Chinese scalar implicature. Four experiments in both off-line and on-line conditions to examine the generation and response time of SI in Chinese "yixie" (some) and "quanbu (dou)" (all) will be conducted in order to find out whether the structural or the pragmatic approach could be sustained. The study mainly aims to answer the following questions: (1) Can SI be generated in the upper- and lower-bound contexts as Katsos confirmed when Chinese language materials are used in the experiment? (2) Can SI be first generated, then cancelled as default view claimed or can it not be generated in a neutral context when Chinese language materials are used in the experiment? (3) Is SI generation costless or costly in terms of processing resources? (4) In line with the SI generation process, what conclusion can be made about the cognitive processing model of language meaning? Is it a parallel model or a linear model? Or is it a dynamic and hierarchical model? According to previous theoretical debates and experimental conflicts, presumptions could be made that SI, in Chinese language, might be generated in the upper-bound contexts. Besides, the response time might be faster in upper-bound than that found in lower-bound context. SI generation in neutral context might be the slowest. At last, a conclusion would be made that the processing model of SI could not be verified by either absolute structural or pragmatic approaches. It is, rather, a dynamic and complex processing mechanism, in which the interaction of language forms, ad hoc context, mental context, background knowledge, speakers’ interaction, etc. are involved.

Keywords: Cognitive Linguistics, Pragmatics, Chinese Language, experimental study, scalar implicture

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2 Hong Kong Chinese-Speaking Adolescents Diagnosed with Dyslexia: What Is and Is Not Improved?

Authors: Kevin Kien Hoa Chung

Abstract:

The present study was to investigate cognitive-linguistic skills that might distinguish the improved dyslexics from the non-improved dyslexics. Twenty-eight improved dyslexics and 28 non-improved dyslexics were selected from a pool of 254 students diagnosed as dyslexics in Grade 1 to 2. These students were administered measures: morphological skills, visual-orthographic skills, rapid naming skills, working memory, reading comprehension, writing, word reading, word dictation, and one-minute word reading. Findings showed that the improved dyslexics performed better than the non-improved dyslexics in visual-orthographic skills, word reading, one-minute reading, writing, and reading comprehension. Furthermore, the improved dyslexics showed fewer cognitive-linguistic deficits compared with the non-improved dyslexics. Among the 4 cognitive-linguistic measures, morphological skills and visual-orthographic skills showed the greatest power in discriminating the improved and non-improved dyslexics. Results underscore the importance of cognitive-linguistic skills underlying the manifestations of the improved and non-improved dyslexia in Chinese adolescents.

Keywords: Adolescents, Chinese Language, improved dyslexics, non-improved dyslexics

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1 Grounding Chinese Language Vocabulary Teaching and Assessment in the Working Memory Research

Authors: Chan Kwong Tung

Abstract:

Since Baddeley and Hitch’s seminal research in 1974 on working memory (WM), this topic has been of great interest to language educators. Although there are some variations in the definitions of WM, recent findings in WM have contributed vastly to our understanding of language learning, especially its effects on second language acquisition (SLA). For example, the phonological component of WM (PWM) and the executive component of WM (EWM) have been found to be positively correlated with language learning. This paper discusses two general, yet highly relevant WM findings that could directly affect the effectiveness of Chinese Language (CL) vocabulary teaching and learning, as well as the quality of its assessment. First, PWM is found to be critical for the long-term learning of phonological forms of new words. Second, EWM is heavily involved in interpreting the semantic characteristics of new words, which consequently affects the quality of learners’ reading comprehension. These two ideas are hardly discussed in the Chinese literature, both conceptual and empirical. While past vocabulary acquisition studies have mainly focused on the cognitive-processing approach, active processing, ‘elaborate processing’ (or lexical elaboration) and other effective learning tasks and strategies, it is high time to balance the spotlight to the WM (particularly PWM and EWM) to ensure an optimum control on the teaching and learning effectiveness of such approaches, as well as the validity of this language assessment. Given the unique phonological, orthographical and morphological properties of the CL, this discussion will shed some light on the vocabulary acquisition of this Sino-Tibetan language family member. Together, these two WM concepts could have crucial implications for the design, development, and planning of vocabularies and ultimately reading comprehension teaching and assessment in language education. Hopefully, this will raise an awareness and trigger a dialogue about the meaning of these findings for future language teaching, learning, and assessment.

Keywords: Working memory, Chinese Language, vocabulary teaching, vocabulary assessment

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