Prior studies on second language vocabulary acquisition did not pay sufficientattention to the role of motivation which could provide explanation to themeaning-meaning connection, form-meaning connection, and form-form connectioninstantiated in linguistic expressions. In the present study, English denominal verbsare chosen as the subject of study to bridge the gap between second languagevocabulary learning and motivation study with a special focus on the role of cognitivemotivation in EFL (English as a Foreign Language) learners' construal of Englishdenominal verbs. Research on English denominal verbs in the literature tended to beconfined to a description and discovering of rules of derivation. It was after the adventof Cognitive Linguistics that researchers were able to investigate how human mindfunctioned in construing this special type of linguistic phenomenon. Only very limitedefforts have been made to investigate the difficulties that EFL learners wouldencounter in construing English denominal verbs in the paradigm known as AppliedCognitive Linguistics (ACL)。
The present study made exploratory attempts to rectify problems concerning EFLlearners* construal of English denominal verbs by adopting mixed methods. Drawingon theories of Cognitive Grammar (Langacker. 1987a, 1991)。 and conceptualmetaphor and metonymy (Kovecses & Radden, 1998; LakofF. 1987; Lakoff &Johnson, 1980: Panther. 2006; Panther & Radden. 1999; Radden & Kovecses, 2007)，this study aimed at exploring the dynamic meaning construal process of Englishdenominal verbs by language users. Denominal verbs were recategorized according tothe metonymic relationship between the parent noun and the whole Action/MotionICM involved in the noun-to-verb conversion. Its implied grammatical meaning wasalso analyzed in line with Cognitive Grammar theory. In addition, the cognitivemotivation driven by metonymy (including grammatical metonymy and zoneactivation) and metonymy-metaphor continuum was considered to be the major factorcapable of constructing the underlying meaning-meaning connection. The interactionbetween contextual clues, domain-based knowledge and cognitive motivation in themeaning construal process was explored to a certain extent. It is believed that thesetheoretical underpinnings would enable us to explore how Chinese EFL learnersmight process English denominal verbs.
The empirical part of this study has highlighted two issues that are of paramountsignificance in EFL learners' construal of English denominal verbs:
(1) In what ways does the EFL learners' construal of English denominal verbsdiffer from the native English speakers'?
(2) How does the cognitive motivation affect the EFL learners,construal ofEnglish denominal verbs?
The empirical part of this study was conducted in the form of a vocabulary testand stimulated recall. Two groups of participants, 25 advanced Chinese EFL learnersand 25 native English speakers, were recruited for the study. Twenty Englishdenominal verbs were selected in the vocabulaiy test with an aim to elicit quantitativeand qualitative data about the participants' knowledge of English denominal verbs.
The participants were asked to write down the meaning of each denominal verb in thegiven context and rate their familiarity and perceived difficulty. Each participant wasasked to do a post_test stimulated recall for the purpose of analyzing their thoughtsduring the task of construing English denominal verbs. The vocabulary test and thestimulated recall in the empirical part yielded both quantitative and qualitative data.
The quantitative data analysis was conducted with the software SPSS 17.0 to verify ifthe results could obtain statistical significance. The qualitative data,with theparticipants' verbal reports in particular, was coded, analyzed, and quantified with thesoftware NVivo 8 in order to enhance the validity and reliability of the data analysis.
Both types of data were combined to triangulate the findings.
The results revealed noteworthy findings about the EFL learners' construal ofEnglish denominal verbs. Regarding research question (1)，it was found that the nativeEnglish speakers outperformed significantly the EFL learners in the vocabulary test.
The EFL learners and the native English speakers used similar sources of clues inconstruing English denominal verbs but differed mainly in the use of the context andtiie parent noun. For the EFL learners, their unfamiliarity with the parent noun forcedthem to use more frequently contextual clues to inference the meaning of the targeteditems. They tended to use more general vocabulary learning strategies in the guessingprocess. Their construal pattern demonstrated that they were less aware of thecognitive motivation associating the denominal verbs and the parent noun. For thepart of the native English speakers, they would focus first on the informationgenerated by the parent noun and deploy more frequentlycognitive-motivation-related strategies such as metonymic and metaphoricalmappings. The degree of conventionalization of the targeted items was an importantfactor that influenced their construal patterns. Hence understanding the contextweighed much more for the EFL learners than the native English speakers. If the EFLlearners did know the meaning of the parent noun, they would use both the parentnoun and the context for the task of construal. During this process, they tried to usecognitive mappings such as grammatical metonymy' zone activation, andmetaphorical mappings, but it seemed to be hard for them to make native-likeassociations. How to use cognitive motivation in a correct way was found to be one ofthe most immense difficulties for the EFL learners.
This finding was vital to the probe into research question (2) about the role ofcognitive motivation. The metonymic motivation of grammatical metonymy and zoneactivation were found to be more difficult for the EFL learners to employ. Theirassociations between the targeted items and a particular 1CM or active zone deviatedfrom the native speakers*. This problem was attributed to their different patterns ofconceptualization entrenched in their mind. Since the EFL learners could not reach theentrenched association of certain English denominal verbs, they had to hypothesize aprobable one and would possibly end up with an incorrect construed meaning. Thecognitive principle of perceptual salience, which was one of the influential factors onthe choice of metonymy, seemed to have a direct relation with the results of thepresent study. Although the EFL learners were not unfamiliar with the metonymicrelationship of PART FOR WHOLE and WHOLE FOR PART represented by thegrammatical metonymy and zone activation underlying English denominal verbs, theymight encounter less frequently similar usages of noun-to-verb conversion in their LI.
Without sufficient exposure to certain metonymic usages which should have beenentrenched for reasonable comprehension, it would be extremely hard for the EFLlearners to use the metonymic motivation in a correct way. When it comes to themetaphorical motivation, two characteristics were found in the EFL learners'performance. The first was that the EFL learners* use of the metaphorical motivationwas based on their understanding of the metonymic motivation triggered bycontextual clues. This finding confirmed our hypothesis that metonymy was a morefiandamenta cognitive motivation underlying denominal verbs. The secondcharacteristic was that the EFL learners' LI could have both positive and negativetransfer on their use of the metaphorical motivation. The metonymic motivationseemed to work more on the cognitive level to provide literal meaning while themetaphorical motivation more on the linguistic level to provide specific figurativemeaning. Therefore, the EFL learners* use of the metaphorical motivation was easilysubject to LI transfer. In addition, domain-based knowledge such as encyclopedicknowledge, culture-specific knowledge, and embodiment could also interact with thecognitive motivation and contribute to the blending of meanings in denominal verbs.
In some cases,the retrieval of certain domain-based knowledge could provideadditional input to promote the activation of ICM and active zone through metonymicmotivation. In other cases, domain-based knowledge seemed indispensible to theirattempt at inference.
This study demonstrated how theories of Cognitive Linguistics could be appliedto the field of second language acquisition from the perspective of cognitivemotivation. In doing so, we are able to develop the line of ACL research to enhanceL2 learners' vocabulary acquisition and promoting their learning in a more“motivated” way.
Although more and more Research Articles written by Chinese scholars arepublished in international publications, it is still a weak point for them writing EnglishResearch Articles (Zhao,2010)。 What's more, a variety of problems, such as linguisticdeficiency,lack of academic writing strategies, often exist in masters' academicEnglish writing (Lu, 2007; Xiong, 2012)。
Based on Rhetorical Structure Theory (RST)， this study employs a mixedresearch method to analyze the macro and micro rhetorical features of English-majormasters' theses' “Discussion”. First, for constructing analysis framework, this studygeneralizes the macro rhetorical structure and the micro rhetorical relationsdistribution of “Discussion” of Research Articles in Applied Linguistics by analyzing20 pieces of Research Articles' “Discussion” in leading international journals inApplied Linguistics. Second, taking these results as reference, this study tries to makea critical analysis on the macro rhetorical structure and micro rhetorical relationsusage of 20 pieces of English-major masters' “Discussion” in Applied Linguistics.
Third, 163 cases of deficiencies are collected, which can be generalized into 7categories: (1) Inappropriateness in Organization of Discussion, (2) Irrelevance inStatement, (3) Insufficiency in Discussion, (4) Inappropriateness in Organization ofElementary Discourse Units, (5) Misuse of Relations, (6) Illogical ElementaryDiscourse Units, and (7) Inappropriateness in Topic Shift between ElementaryDiscourse Units. Fourth, this study explores 3 reasons accounting for thesedeficiencies: negative native language transfer, different thinking patterns betweenChinese and Westerners, and weak domestic academic writing instructions.