An Empirical Study on the Attrition Sequence of English Interrogative Structures in Chinese Context


In view of the important role that language attrition plays in language learning and teaching, this study is designed to probe into Chinese adult EFL learners’ attrition sequence of English interrogations. The participants investigated in this study are 243 Chinese EFL graduates who had graduated for at least two years. The main measurement employed is a questionnaire, with 40 items of English interrogative sentences included. It is detected that the attrition sequence roughly reflects the inversed pattern of acquisition sequence of English interrogations in Chinese context, which echoes with the assumption of Jakobson’s Regression Hypothesis. The findings also shed light on English teaching and learning in China. As Regression Hypothesis suggests that language components might be lost in the reverse order in which they are acquired, learners are expected to timely review acquired language skills prone to attrition. In addition, it is hoped that understanding some of the dynamic processes of language retention and attrition will increase teachers’ and learners’ awareness and ability to make their own personal observations and to help keep EFL learners’ language abilities.

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Liu, Y. (2014) An Empirical Study on the Attrition Sequence of English Interrogative Structures in Chinese Context. Open Journal of Modern Linguistics, 4, 595-606. doi: 10.4236/ojml.2014.45052.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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