Third Space Lab Brown Bag Lunch Research Talk: ZHANG Minghao (Rainie)

November 19, 2021
Noon-1pm (China Time)

You are cordially invited to attend the TSL Brown Bag Lunch Research Talk by ZHANG Minghao (Rainie) on The Fallacy of Fossilized Language Learners: An updated understanding of fossilization and a longitudinal case study of an advanced adult learner of Mandarin at noon on Friday Nov. 19th, 2021 (China Standard Time).

Location: CC 1095. Zoom link will be sent to remote participants. Bring your own lunch and enjoy the talk! Snacks and bubble tea provided—please be sure to RSVP.

Please RSVP by 5 pm China Standard Time Thursday Nov. 18th :


Fossilization, as one of the main characteristics of adult second language acquisition (SLA) (Bley-Vroman, 1989; Selinker, 1972), is a developmental phenomenon where the uses of certain linguistic structures of the second language stabilize and stay deviant from those of a native speaker permanently. SLA research has identified that fossilization is local, selective, and idiosyncratic in nature (Han, 2014). It is local in that it does not affect the entire second language system and only affects the subsystems of phonology and morphosyntax; it is selective in that within each subsystem susceptible to fossilization, only certain linguistic structures are affected; it is idiosyncratic in that the effect of fossilization varies from learner to learner.

While fossilization has been viewed as a neutral developmental phenomenon without any negative connotation, it has been widely misunderstood among language learners and language teaching practitioners as the indicator of the end of one’s second language learning journey in an extremely negative and even hopeless sense. In other words, they tend to believe that once a learner has ‘fossilized’, their second language will stop developing regardless of how much effort they make. To problematize this view, this talk hopes to present an updated understanding of fossilization with a focus on Selective Fossilization Hypothesis and to introduce a longitudinal case study (in progress) to investigate an advanced learner’s acquisition of variable structures in Mandarin Chinese.


The TSL brown bag lunch research talk is open to all members of the DKU community and beyond who are interested in engaging in a conversation about research projects, either a published work or a work-in-progress, broadly related to languages, cultures and intercultural communication. If you are interested in participating either as a speaker or as audience, please fill out this survey: or contact Dr. Zhang Xin (