Testing the Bottleneck Hypothesis: Chinese EFL learners’ knowledge of morphology and syntax across proficiency levels

Shiyu Wu, Dilin Liu & Zan Li
This study tests the Bottleneck Hypothesis (BH) that functional morphology presents the greatest difficulty in second language acquisition by examining Chinese English as a foreign language (EFL) learners’ knowledge of both functional morphological properties and core syntactic properties across three language proficiency levels. Specifically, this study compares Chinese EFL learners’ grasp of subject–verb agreement (a functional morphological property) vs. their grasp of the syntactic formation rules (properties) of WH-questions including WH-movement, WH-do-insertion (i.e. the insertion...
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