The Effect of Exposure on Chinese Learners’ Processing of English Wh-movement Sentences

Hulin Ren


The study is to examine the effect of exposure on Chinese learners’ differences in the comprehension of three types of wh-movement structural sentences in English, such as Who did the boy think pinched the goat? Chinese learners with 10 years’ (group 1) and 5 years’ (group 2) amount of formal exposure with English and one control group with 10 years exposure to English participated both off-line and on-line comprehension tests. Findings indicated that the two Chinese groups had the same comprehension accuracy as the control group, but differ in reading times. In spite of having longer comprehension times, group 2 got relatively lower comprehension scores, indicating that there is a strong correlation between Chinese learners’ response times and comprehension accuracy and the amount of formal exposure. These findings are discussed regarding the role of formal amount of exposure in complex English sentence processing, and conclusions are drawn on Chinese learners’ comprehension of complex English syntactic structures.

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English Linguistics Research
ISSN 1927-6028 (Print)   ISSN 1927-6036 (Online)

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