L1 acquisition of chinese causal and manner questions: Data from zenme hui and hui zenme

Chi Chang Roy Li, Chun Yin Doris Chen, Li Chin Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This study explores children’s acquisition of manner and causal questions by examining hui zenme ‘how’ and zenme hui ‘why’ with a comprehension task (i.e. Picture Identification) and a production task (i.e. Question Asking) designed to investigate the acquisition of manner and causal questions’ agency effects’ genericity effects’ and task effects. The 48 participants were preschoolers divided into three age groups: 4, 5, and 6 year olds. The major findings are’ first’ there was no significant difference in response to hui zenme and zenme hui (p >.05), but performance was slightly better on the latter. Second, agency and genericity effects were significant in the participants’ responses to zenme questions (p <.05) with participants performing better on those with agent subjects and in the non-generic condition. Finally, more wrong responses were produced often in response to manner questions, indicating that questions with hui zenme were more difficult to acquire than questions with zenme hui.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-35
Number of pages35
JournalConcentric: Studies in Linguistics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jan 1
Externally publishedYes



  • Agency
  • Causal question
  • Genericity
  • L1 acquisition
  • Manner question

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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