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Title: Impacts of SOV grammar on the acquisition of Mandarin : a survey of Yunnan Lahu students’ use of mandarin conjunctions
Other Title: SOV 母語對普通話的習得影響 -- 從拉祜語關聯詞結構看拉祜族學生學習普通話的現況
Authors: Hsu, YY 
Liu, Y 
Issue Date: Dec-2020
Source: Journal of Chinese language teaching (華語文教學研究), Dec. 2020, v. 17, no. 4, p. 41-70
Abstract: This study investigated the uses of Mandarin conjunctions by local high school students in Lancang County, Yunnan, China. Fifty-six students, whose first language is Lahu, participated in this study. Lahu, a Tibeto-Burman language, has a SOV (subject-object-verb) word order that differs from Mandarin’s SVO order. We studied how the syntactic differences between conjunctions in Lahu and Mandarin reflect Lahu grammar’s influence on students’ Mandarin. We used a survey of acceptability judgments on typical Mandarin sentences and Lahu-flavored Mandarin sentences in five types of conjunction structures proposed by the research team. Across the types of conjunctions, students’ acceptability judgments did not show clear differences between Mandarin and the Lahu-flavored Mandarin sentences, although some students seemed to be aware of the unique status of clause-final conjunctions, which never occur in standard Mandarin and thereby resulted in lower acceptance rates. Critical differences were found in accuracy; students tended to prefer sentences with the object preceding the verb, which is a fundamental OV order for Lahu but not for Mandarin. Therefore, it appears that the OV order exhibited in Lahu has been pervasively carried over to students’ Mandarin. Moreover, students were not aware of the structural differences of conjunctions used in the two languages and could not accurately identify correct Mandarin sentences. Based on our results and our examination of the 18 textbooks currently adopted by local high schools, we provided concrete suggestions about how the fundamental word order differences can be emphasized in local Mandarin language curricula to help improve students’ awareness of the linguistic differences between Lahu and Mandarin to efficiently advance their Mandarin proficiency. More research will still be needed to better address issues related to the languages and the language learning in this unique community.
本文對比分析普通話與拉祜語關聯詞語的結構差異,探究中國雲南省 拉祜族學生普通話複句的使用,進而探討當前拉祜族學生普通話水準偏低 的原因。本研究先分析拉祜語關聯詞結構為五類,並依此設計問卷考察拉 祜族學生對普通話複句的通順程度判斷以及學生們語句判斷的正確率。研 究結果發現,兩類語言間的謂賓語序以及關聯詞語結構差異的區別對於學 生判斷普通話句子造成顯著影響。文中也報告了當地使用的一到九年級普 通話教材對於關聯詞語的介紹,以及當地少數民族的普通話課程的狀況。 本文通過研究拉祜族學生對普通話複句的判斷,指出學生普通話形成偏誤 的語 法關鍵,並試圖從語法對比及教學語法的觀點提出針對謂賓順序及關 聯詞結構在漢語教學中的建議。
Keywords: Conjunction
Lahu language
OV order
Publisher: World Chinese Language Association 世界華語文教育學會
Journal: Journal of Chinese language teaching (華語文教學研究) 
Rights: Posted with permission of World Chinese Language Association 世界華語文教育學會
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission from the publisher.
The following publication Hsu, Yu-Yin, and Yang Liu. 2020. SOV 母語對普通話的習得影響:從拉祜語關聯詞結構看拉祜族學生學習普通話的現況 [Impacts of SOV Grammar on the Acquisition of Mandarin: A Survey of Yunnan Lahu Students’ Use of Mandarin Conjunctions]. 華語文教學研究 [Journal of Chinese Language Teaching] 17.4: 41-70 is available at
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