The Periphrastic Topic Structures in Chinese-English Interlanguage

Chengchao Li, Lianrui Yang, Brent Wolter


Periphrastic topic structures, as Chinese-style topic structures, belong to the category of prepositional topic fronting constructions in TSVO sequences. Findings from studies on periphrastic topic structures are inconsistent and present only a fragmented understanding. Therefore, the present study is conducted to make up for the gap and aims to reveal the developmental features of periphrastic topic structures (henceforth PTS) through investigating the production and the recognition of PTSs in Chinese college English learners’ Chinese-English interlanguage. The result suggests that with advances in learners’ English proficiency levels, periphrastic topic structures diminish from the preliminary stage to the intermediate stage gradually, but present a much higher degree of fossilization at the advanced level. Theoretically, this finding may further support Yang’s findings(2008) and validate the Selective Fossilization Hypothesis model (SFH model) proposed by Han (2009).


Chinese-English Interlanguage, Developmental Features, Periphrastic Topic Structures, Selective Fossilization Hypothesis

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