Cognitive linguistics approaches to Chinese second language acquisition

Authored by: Ning Yu , Ben Pin-Yun Wang

The Routledge Handbook of Chinese Second Language Acquisition

Print publication date:  April  2018
Online publication date:  March  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138946606
eBook ISBN: 9781315670706
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter reviews the empirical studies in the acquisition and instruction of Chinese as a second language that are informed by a number of key theoretical constructs in Cognitive Linguistics (CL), such as motivation, categorization, construal, metaphor, metonymy, and construction. The methods of data collection and analysis adopted by these studies include: (a) analysis of learner language samples drawn from learner corpora or collected through experimental elicitation; (b) effects-of-instruction experiments that examine the efficacy of CL-informed instruction on the Chinese language, as compared to traditional teaching methods; and (c) questionnaire surveys conducted to explore how CL-informed instruction is received by L2 Chinese learners. A general picture that emerges from research in this area is that CL has strong explanatory power for potential linguistic challenges faced by L2 Chinese learners. In addition, systematic CL-informed explanations of Chinese characters, vocabulary, and grammar can lead to more meaningful learning and less reliance on rote memorization on the part of the learner.

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