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Communication dans un congrès

Information organization in descriptions and narratives: Spatial anchoring in L2 Chinese

Abstract : Many studies have shown that, confronted with complex verbal tasks, native speakers of different languages differ in their preferred patterns of information organization which determine what kind of information is selected for expression and how it is mapped into form (Carroll et al., 2000; Carroll & Lambert, 2003; Carroll & Stutterheim, 2002). This study examines the ways in which French-speaking learners of L2 Chinese introduce new referents in two different types of discourse: spatial descriptions and narratives. The procedure used consists of the analysis of an oral corpus collected from four groups of informants: two groups of native speakers of Chinese and French, and two groups of learners of L2 Chinese at two proficiency levels (low and intermediate). The data collected consists of the description of a poster and of the re-telling of a comic strip. The results of the description task show that linguistic devices used in Chinese and French to encode the spatial anchoring of the new referent have an impact on the presence and placement of the locative phrase in the utterance. These properties in turn influence the way in which the informational content develops across the utterances in the discourse. Even if there is a clear development of proficiency between the two L2 groups, intermediate learners still often leave the spatial anchoring of the new referent implicit (zero anaphora), and therefore are not yet able to organize information on the discourse level like native Chinese speakers. The results of the narrative task show that French speakers introduce new referents in narratives relying on the temporal anchoring, whereas Chinese speakers also consistently add a spatial anchoring in sentence initial position to ensure discourse coherence. Even at intermediate level, learners are not able to identify this pattern of information organization in their L2. These difficulties in the information organization can be explained by L1 transfer but are also influenced by the grammatical means used in Chinese to introduce new referents in discourse, namely presentative construction and localizers in locative phrases. Carroll, M., & Lambert, M. (2003). Information structure in narratives and the role of grammaticised knowledge. A study of adult French and German learners of English. In C. Dimroth & M. Starren (Eds.), Information structure and the dynamics of language acquisition (pp. 267–287). Amsterdam, Philadelphia: John Benjamins. Carroll, M., Murcia-serra, J., Watorek, M., & Bendiscioli, A. (2000). The Relevance of Information Organization to Second Language. The Descriptive Discourse of Advances Adult Learners of German. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 22, 441–466. Carroll , M., & Stutterheim, C. von. (2002). Typology and information organization: perspective taking and language-specific effects in the construal of events. In A.Ramat (Ed.), Typology and Second Language Acquisition (pp. 365–402). Berlin, New York: De Gruyter Mouton.
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Communication dans un congrès
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Contributeur : Arnaud Arslangul <>
Soumis le : lundi 9 août 2021 - 17:28:16
Dernière modification le : mercredi 11 août 2021 - 03:20:03


  • HAL Id : hal-03318347, version 1



Arnaud Arslangul. Information organization in descriptions and narratives: Spatial anchoring in L2 Chinese. 6th International Conference on Chinese as a Second Language Research, Jul 2021, Washington, DC, United States. ⟨hal-03318347⟩



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