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The Influence of Chinese Topic Prominence Construction on English Acquisition: A Study on Non-English Majors and English Majors at a Chinese College
Kristianstad University, School of Teacher Education.
2011 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 15 credits / 22,5 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

As Chinese is a topic prominent language and English is a subject prominent language, there are many differences between these two languages. The present study investigates the influence of Chinese topic prominence constructions on the acquisition of English with the instrument of a translation task. 60 Chinese college students of two levels were divided into two groups according to their English proficiency level (the non-English majors for low level and the English majors for high level). The results were analyzed and calculated in terms of four types of topic prominence constructions: Noun phrases as topics, clauses as topics, verb phrases as topics and prepositional phrases as topics.  


Through this study, it is found that the interlanguage of Chinese learners for English is characterized by topic prominence construction. What is more, Chinese learners of English can gradually decrease the use of topic prominence construction, turning into more target-like interlangage with the increase of their English proficiency level.


The findings of the present study contribute to a better understanding of Chinese English learners' interlanguage development from topic prominence to subject prominence. Furthermore, the results of the current study are significant for the English teaching in China. The language teacher should enhance the comparison between Chinese and English so that the learners could be more aware of the difference between these two languages and errors could be avoided.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. , 38 p.
Keyword [en]
topic prominence, subject prominence, transfer, second language acquisition.
National Category
Social Sciences Pedagogy
URN: urn:nbn:se:hkr:diva-8345OAI: diva2:429120
Educational program
Teacher Education
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Available from: 2011-07-07 Created: 2011-07-03 Last updated: 2011-07-07Bibliographically approved

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