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中国英语学生加工歧义名名组合的认知机制

时间: 2015-03-13 编号:sb201503131021 作者:蜂朝网
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文章摘要:
Combinations refer to the combining of two or more words (Libben and Jarema 2007).As a natural phenomenon in society, Compounding is regarded as a common andeconomical way to express specific meanings without creating new words in alllanguages.

CHAPTER ONEINTRODUCTION


1.1 Introduction

This first part of the chapter introduced the background of ambiguous noun-nouncombinations. Then significance of the research on ambiguous noun-nouncombinations was listed. The last part of the chapter demonstrated the organization ofthis paper. It is believed in semantics that human beings refer to the infinite variety of objects inthe universe with language, and these references come into the human mind asconcepts (Chen, 2011). For example, when people see the word “bird”, they woulddefine the concept of “bird” like that: a flying creature that is covered with feathersand has two wings and two legs (Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary 2010). Thisconcept is stored in their mind with the word.However, it is not an easy task to define the concept of concept. What cognitivescientists generally agree about the concept of concept is that it is a mentalrepresentation that picks out a set of entities, or a category, and the categorymembership is a principled matter (Douglas L. Medin and Lance J. Rips 2005). Citedfrom Chen (2011) that concepts are categories into which experiences are organizedas well as a larger network of intellectual relationships that are brought about throughcategorization.

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1.2 Background of the Research

Combination of words is a common phenomenon in different languages, and newlyformed combinations enter the language system each year. Combinations refer to the combining of two or more words (Libben and Jarema 2007).As a natural phenomenon in society, Compounding is regarded as a common andeconomical way to express specific meanings without creating new words in alllanguages. It is usually easy and effortless for people to understand combinationsthough the combinations may take many different forms which include verb-adverbcombinations, verb-noun combinations, adjective-noun combinations, and noun-nouncombinations.Among all the types of combinations noun-noun combinations have drawnattention from researchers for they are the most common combinations in English.The popularity and high production make noun-noun combinations worth of academicstudy. Linguists have done lots of research on noun-noun combinations, and they havebeen trying to answer the research questions in this field. How do people recognizenoun-noun combinations? What is the rule to form a new noun-noun combination? Which factors influence the comprehension of a noun-noun combination? Ambiguousnoun-noun combinations are special noun-noun combinations. The research on suchcombinations can help solve the above questions.

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CHAPTER TWOLITERATURE REVIEW


2.1 Introduction

In this chapter noun-noun combinations and ambiguous noun-noun combinationswere defined first. Then theories about the interpretation of ambiguous noun-nouncombinations were introduced. At last previous studies in this field were mentioned. A noun-noun combination is a combination formed by two nouns. A noun is regardedas a representation of one simple concept, so a noun-noun combination can be seen asa combined concept. For example, housework is a combination of house and work. Itrefers to the work involved in taking care of a home and family, like cleaning andcooking (Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary 2010).There exist three written forms of noun-noun combinations: 1) the closed form, inwhich the two components appear together as one; 2) the hyphenated form, in whichthe two components are connected by a hyphen; 3) the open form, in which the twocomponents appear as two independent nouns. The three forms represent theevolution of most noun-noun combinations. A newly formed noun-noun combinationusually appears in the open form. When it is accepted by more people, it turns into acombination with a hyphen. After it is wildly used, the noun-noun combination wouldbe show in the closed form.No matter in which form the noun-noun combination appears, its two componentsmay work together to construct a specific meaning. The second noun in an Englishnoun-noun combination is the head noun that denotes the category; the first noun isthe modifier that serves to specify the way in which the head noun differs from othermembers of its category (Murphy 1990; Wisniewski 1996; Gagné 1997; Libben,Jarema 2007; Raffray, Pickering & Branigan 2007; Jones, Estes, Marsh 2008).

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2.2 Review of Combinations

As a dynamic system, Language is highly productive. Combinations of concepts areusually applied in everyday life to create new names for new objects and to enlargeour language (Jespersen 1942). For that reason combinations appear and enter thelanguage system each year. A combination is a union of two or more words whichconveys a united idea or a special meaning. They are seen in forms of noun-nouncombinations, adjective-noun combinations, verb-adverb-preposition combinations orother forms. Among them noun-noun combinations and adjective-noun combinationsare used most frequently, especially for Chinese EFL (English as Foreign Language)learners. Different from a phrase, a combination is usually treated as a whole entity.The components of one combination are closely linked with each other.

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CHAPTER THREE METHODOLOGY....... 21

3.1 Introduction........ 21

3.2 Research Questions ..... 21

3.3 Pilot Studies ....... 21

3.4 Experimental Design............ 23

3.5 Participants......... 24

3.6.1 Prime combinations............ 25

3.6.2 Filler Pairs ........ 26

3.7 Procedure ........... 27

3.8 Summary ............ 27

CHAPTER FOUR RESULTS AND DISCUSSION ......... 28

4.1 Introduction........ 28

4.2 Results....... 28

4.3 Discussion .......... 42

4.4 Summary ...... 46

CHAPTER FIVE CONCLUSIONS.... 47

5.1 Introduction........... 47

5.2 Conclusions of Findings.......... 47

5.3 Limitations and Suggestions for Future Studies....... 48

5.3.1 Limitations of the research.......... 48

5.3.2 Suggestions for Future Studies.... 49

5.4 Implications........ 49

5.5 Summary ............ 50


CHAPTER FOURRESULTS AND DISCUSSION


4.1 Introduction

In this chapter data collected from the formal experiment and the analyses of thesedata were demonstrated. First, Steps of data processing and analyzing were introduced.Then an objective discussion was given based on the results of the analyses. The 1800 responses to the target combinations were picked for further investigation,and data trimming was taken as the first step to eliminate invalid data.Two types of responses were considered invalid: 1) responses with RTs (reactiontime) which were shorter than 300ms or longer than ten seconds; 2) responses withRTs which differed with the mean RT by more than 2.5 SD (standard deviation) ineach proficiency group. These invalid data were removed from the analysis.The RTs and ARs (accurate rate) of the remaining responses were then processed bySPSS software. They were subjected to the repeated measure of by-participant andby-item analyses of variance.


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Conclusion


The present study aims at investigating the conceptual combining process in theinterpretations of ambiguous noun-noun combinations. It studied the influences ofHeaded and Dominance in two different proficiency groups of Chinese EFL learners.The findings of the experiment are concluded as follows:

1) Chinese EFL learners tend to interpret ambiguous noun-noun combinations viarelation interpretations. This strategy requires less effort in the interpretation, so theprocessing load of working memory in relation interpretation is not as heavy as that inproperty interpretation. Besides, it is a difficult task for Chinese EFL learners toabstract sub-concepts of the modifier concept and the head concept, which isimportant for property mapping. Moreover, relation interpretations are adopted inChinese nominal combinations. This first language influence can also lead to thepreference of relation interpretation.

2) The assumption of modifier primacy was denied in this research. Relationinformation for the ambiguous noun-noun combinations are activated by both themodifier concept and the head concept during the interpretation of Chinese EFLlearners. The head concept also plays a vital role in the evaluation of possiblerelations and the elaboration of the selected relation. The larger influence of the headnoun concept can be explained by the influence of linguistic property of the headconcept in Chinese nominal combinations. This influence obscures the role of themodifier concept and strengthens the role of the head concept.

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Reference (omitted)


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