German and English are both Germanic languages; consequently, they share a lot of similarities in terms of the vocabularies. However, due to various historical reasons, the grammar of English has undergone a lot of changes since its divorce from High German. The accumulated result is the often subtle differences in the languages’ grammars, and these differences often create problems to English second language learners of German. In the present study, we are going to investigate the acquisition of German negation by Cantonese native speakers in Hong Kong. As Hong Kong was a colony of the Britain, and due to Hong Kong’s status as an international financial centre, universities students in Hong Kong, who are our target subjects, generally have long exposure to English. Also, since the negation construction in Cantonese is quite different from German, we propose that the influencing factors of the subjects’ German acquisition are mainly from English. In our research, we will focus on the prescriptive grammar of standard High German. For the reference of the German grammar, we will base on “Deutsche Grammatik — Ein Handbuch Für Den Ausländerunterricht “1, an authoritative German grammar handbook for foreign learners.
Our research is a very brief attempt to look into the German studies in Hong Kong. Through our research, we hope to understand how L2 learners would be influenced by English when they acquire the German negation constructions. We assume that there may be a positive transfer for the L2 learners from English.
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