Delexical Verb + Noun Collocations in Swedish and Chinese Learner English

Detta är en avhandling från Uppsala : Department of English

Sammanfattning: This thesis deals with the use of delexical verb + noun collocations such as have no doubt, make a decision and give a speech in Swedish and Chinese learner English. The aim of the study is to investigate interlanguage (IL) developmental patterns as well as the role of L1 influence in the learners’ use of such collocations.Using a methodological framework that combines learner corpus research with a contrastive perspective, the study involves two comparable learner corpora as well as corpora of the target language (TL) and the source languages (Swedish and Chinese). In the study, the frequencies, lexical preferences and morphosyntactic characteristics of such collocations that occur in the corpora used are examined and compared. An error analysis is also conducted to reveal the difficulties faced by the learners.The results of the investigation demonstrate a medley of differences and affinities between the two ILs. It is argued that both the idiom principle and the open-choice principle are applied by the learners. The operation of the idiom principle, i.e. certain word strings are processed as single units, is closely associated with collocations which have rather restricted combinatorial and syntactic flexibility (e.g. take part in, make use of, give rise to), whereas the open-choice principle tends to manifest itself in more transparent and less fixed collocations (e.g. have a chance, get (an) education).  L1/IL comparisons throughout the study display only partial support for L1 influence. It is also argued that L1 influence is not restricted to errors; nor is it just linguistic. More often usage evincing L1 influence can be distinguished from correct usage, and the influence seems to be exerted at conceptual and discourse levels, affected by, for instance, culture-specific values and writing conventions. The study also reveals a subtle interplay between L1 influence and other factors such as essay topic, proficiency level, psychotypology, register awareness, overgeneralization, and reliance on all-purpose verbs. 

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