||The issue of dative alternation construction has long been a debated topic in the linguistics field. This thesis especially focuses on the grammatical weight interpretation. Quirk et al. (1972) stated the end-weight rule, which predicted that people tended to put the NP which is heavier at the final position of a sentence. However, how to define the heaviness of NP is still in debate. Ross (1967) claimed that an NP is heavy if it dominates “a sentence”. Emonds (1976: 112) argued that an NP is called as heavy in the complex NP shift is that the NP dominates an S or PP. On the other hand, Hawkins (1990, 1994) proposed the idea that the heaviness is determined by the number of words dominated by a NP. Therefore, this thesis tries to shed some light on the precise definition of grammatical weight for Chinese native speakers. Secondly, Chang (2001) argued that the echo effect was prominent for Chinese native speakers to determing the dative word order variation. The subjects tended to echo the question pattern when they responded to that question. Hence, this thesis also tries to investigate the phenomenon when the echo effect issue meets with the grammatical weight interpretation. Judgment task, contextual questions task and corpus analysis are adopted in this study. Contextual questions task tries to investigate the subjects’ response to a contextual question which contains dative verbs. The purpose of this contextual questions task is to know when the complexity effect meets with the echo effect, what is more determining. The judgment task tests the participants’ judgment on the grammaticality of sentences which contains dative alternation. The purpose of this questionnaire is to see if the complexity of a NP contributes to the determining of a dative alternation construction. The corpus used is Chinese Word Sketch corpus developed by Academia Sinica. There are 253 sentences in total. I try to consider the length of the constituents and the complexity of constituents in dative alternation. |
In the first section of the questionnaire, the result shows that the Chinese native speakers are both sensitive to the echo effect and the complexity effect. Besides, the preference for the dative sentence type is also found based on the result. In the second section of the questionnaire, the result indicates that the Chinese native speakers are indeed sensitive to the complexity of a NP. The subjects tend to rate the sentences which contains a more complex NP at the final position of a sentence more acceptable than that at the middle of a sentence. In addition, the preference of the dative sentence type is also found in the result. In the corpus study, the results show that subjects are both sensitive to the complexity of constituents and length of constituents. In conclusion, the Chinese native speakers in this study shows sensitivity to both the complexity effect, length effect and echo effect. Furthermore, in both questionnaires, the preference for the dative sentence type is identified. This preference can be explained through the unmarked property of the dative sentence type in Chinese.