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Aquisicao dos artigos em Portugues por aprendentes Chineses = Acquisition of the Portuguese articles by Chinese learners

English Abstract

This thesis investigates variation in the acquisition of the article in the interlanguage of Chinese learners of Portuguese as L2, with the purpose of assessing whether Universal Grammar (GU) is still accessible to the adult for reconfiguration of a morphosyntactic parameter that, in Portuguese, has a different value from that of their mother tongue. After an assessment of the theoretical workings of GU, three central hypotheses are presented: the Failed Functional Features Hypothesis (FFFH), the Missing Surface Inflection Hypothesis (MSIH) and the Fluctuation Hypothesis (FH). To examine acquisition of the article, the thesis assumes the Determiner Phrase (SD) Hypothesis and performs a comparative study of the forms of representation of determination in Portuguese and Chinese. Based on key work in the research literature on article acquisition/use, eleven working hypotheses are proposed, concerning the conditioning of the acquisition of the Portuguese articles by Chinese learners. To evaluate these hypotheses, performance data were collected from L2 Portuguese university students, by means of three tasks: the retelling of part of a movie, individual interviews and forced elicitation. In processing the data, the ANOVA procedure of SPSS was used. The proper use of the article was treated as a dependent variable, and ten independent variables, both linguistic (semantic/pragmatic of SD, syntactic position of SD, property of nouns, internal structure of SD, external structure of SD, binary features) and extralinguistic (study vi years, pre-university school experience, experience of living in Portuguese speaking countries, knowledge of other foreign languages) were evaluated. The results obtained are consistent with both the FFFH and FH. The errors detected in the performance of the informants are due to the syntactic deficit in the interlanguage grammar of Chinese learners and for this reason, the parameter D is not fully acquired.

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Faculty of Arts and Humanities


Department of Portuguese




Portuguese language -- Article

Portuguese language -- Study and teaching -- China


Baxter, Alan Norman

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