How English L2 Learners in China Perceive and Interpret Novel English Compounds

| March 21, 2011
How English L2 Learners in China Perceive and Interpret Novel English Compounds

Keywords: noun-noun compounds, Chinese learners, vocabulary teaching, L1 transfer

Xiaozhou Zhou
University of Warwick,UK
Dr Victoria Murphy
University of Oxford,UK

Bio Data
Xiaozhou Zhou received her Master s Degree in Applied Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition in University of Oxford. She is now a third-year-PhD student at the University of Warwick. This paper is based on the research conducted during her master s studies in Oxford.

Victoria Murphy received her PhD from McGill University in 2000 and is now University Lecturer in Applied Linguistics in the Department of Education, University of Oxford, and fellow of Kellogg College. Her research interests focus on aspects of lexical and literacy development in L2 learners, primarily with children.

This study aims to investigate how English learners in China interpret novel English noun-noun compounds. Relevant research literature is for the most part limited to L1 children s interpretations of noun-noun compounds. Therefore the current study extends the research area into the L2 domain with a view to comparing interpretations of L2 learners with those of L1 children in the study of Krott, Gagnie and Nicoladis (2008). Fifty-two students from two universities in Shanghai, China participated in the research. They were given an English compound test consisting of 30 novel noun-noun compounds. The results indicated that, generally speaking, the participants displayed an overall competence in understanding and interpreting novel English compounds. The differences in performance success between the intermediate and advanced groups were not found to be statistically significant. Possible factors affecting participants interpretations and vocabulary teaching implications are discussed at the end of the study.

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Category: Main Editions, Volume 13 Issue 1