This paper examines the semantic and syntactic properties of the aspect marker -zhe in Mandarin Chinese as well as L2 adult learners’ acquisition of -zhe using data from the Academia Sinica corpus and a learner corpus compiled by the Mandarin Training Center at National Taiwan Normal University. -Zhe sentences were categorized into three major patterns — V-zhe, V1-zhe-V2, and V1-zhe-V1-zhe-(jiu-)V2, with each further divided into sub-types. Major findings were: (a) Usage of the various types of -zhe produced by the highest proficiency level learners in the corpus was closest to that of native speakers’. (b) The rate of V-zhe occurrence increased with the learners’ proficiency level. (c) The rate of V1-zhe-V1-zhe-(jiu-)V2 occurrence decreased with the learners’ proficiency level. Error analysis revealed additional insights. These findings suggest that L2 teaching of Mandarin must take the various patterns of -zhe and the semantic and syntactic properties of the verbs occurring with -zhe into consideration.
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