Interpretation of count and mass NPs by L2-learners from generalized classifier L1s

Sea Hee Choi, Yeqiu Zhu, Tania Ionin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This study investigates whether L2-learners from generalized classifier (GC) languages (Korean and Chinese) can acquire the count/mass distinction of English, in the domain of singular NP interpretation. We hypothesize that L1- Korean/Chinese L2-English learners transfer the properties of NP interpretation from their L1 to their L2. This hypothesis was tested using a Picture-Matching Task (PMT). To confirm the L1-transfer effect, Korean and Chinese versions of the experiment were also administered. The results of the English study show that L1-Korean/Chinese L2-English learners were target-like with count NPs, but allowed object-readings of mass NPs more than English NSs. The results of the Korean and Chinese experiment versions provide possible evidence that the pattern of results obtained for L2-English is due to L1-transfer from Korean/Chinese.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThree Streams of Generative Language Acquisition Research
EditorsTania Ionin, Matthew Rispoli
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9789027202246
StatePublished - 2019

Publication series

NameLanguage Acquisition and Language Disorders
ISSN (Print)0925-0123


  • Count nouns
  • English
  • Korean
  • L1-transfer
  • Mandarin Chinese
  • Mass nouns
  • Mass/count distinction
  • NP interpretation
  • Syntax/semantics mappings

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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