For learners of Japanese, the semantics associated with numeral classifiers are non-transparent and often a source of difficulty in language acquisition. To better understand the accessibility of the semantics governing numeral classification and the metacognitive processes involved, this study examined acquisition of Japanese numeral classifiers in second language learning. Native speakers (N=48) and second language learners of Japanese (N=41) were presented with images of 20 items and asked to provide an appropriate classifier and explain their rationale. Items consisted of familiar and less familiar items in order to determine the role of frequency. That is, unfamiliar objects would rule out a reliance on previous exposure to the object while inducing participants to draw on semantic features or to supply a default counter. Results revealed that (1) non-native speakers defaulted to the most general inanimate classifier, and (2) when semantics were drawn upon, features of shape were the most salient, while size and function lacked semantic accessibility.
|Commitee:||Fender, Michael, Klein, Wendy|
|School:||California State University, Long Beach|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||MAI 54/04M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Japanese language, Numeral classifiers, Second language acquisition, Semantics|
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