A Discourse Perspective of Topic-prominence in Chinese EFL Learners’ Interlanguage

Shaopeng Li, Lianrui Yang


The present study aims to investigate the general characteristics of topic-prominent typological interlanguage development of Chinese learners of English in terms of acquiring subject-prominent English structures from the discourse perspective. We have selected as the research target “topic chain” which is the main topic-prominent structure in Chinese discourse and “zero anaphora” which is the most common topic anaphor of topic chain. Topic structures mainly appear in Chinese discourse in the form of “topic chain” (Wang, 2002; 2004). Actually, in the event of a topic chain, research on topic structures should go into the typical range of discourse. Two important findings were yielded by the present study. First, the characteristics of Chinese topic chain are transferrable to the interlanguage of Chinese EFL learners, thus resulting in overgeneralization of zero anaphora; second, interlanguage discourse of Chinese EFL learners reflects the characteristics of a second language acquisition process from topic-prominence to subject-prominence, thus lending support to the discourse transfer hypothesis.



Topic-prominence, subject-prominence, topic chain, zero anaphora, discourse transfer

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.3n.4p.190


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