Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Modern Languages


Modern Languages

First Advisor

Christopher Sapp

Second Advisor

Zhini Zeng

Third Advisor

Vance Schaefer

Relational Format



The current thesis investigates the acquisition of Chinese wh-questions by English l2 learners based on the syntactic differences between the two languages. I seek to find out how well do the l2 learners acquire the wh-questions, as measured by a grammaticality judgment task; what wh-words tend to pose difficulties for the acceptability of l2 learners; if l2 learners able to acquire the native-like word order of wh-questions in Chinese; if the results of the initial l2 learners in line with any hypotheses of the initial state. Through the analysis of the results, I will conclude that l1 English learners of l2 Chinese at the initial state fully transfer the features of wh-questions, while non-initial students are able to acquire wh-in situ feature with some types of wh-questions, in line with Schwartz & Sprouse's (1994, 1996) full transfer full access hypothesis.


Emphasis: Languages, Specialization: German



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