Article published in:New Frontiers in Learner Corpus Research
Edited by Victoria Hasko
[International Journal of Corpus Linguistics 18:3] 2013
► pp. 418–442
Overuse or underuse
A corpus study of English phrasal verb use by Chinese, British and American university students
This study explores Chinese university students’ use of phrasal verbs in comparison with their American and British counterparts by utilizing a corpus of learner English and four native corpora of two English varieties and two genres (argumentative and academic writing). The results show that it is difficult to state whether the Chinese learners of English over- or underuse phrasal verbs in writing because a more striking difference emerges between the British and American students. American students tend to use many more phrasal verbs in both genres than British students and they also use a greater variety of phrasal verbs. Notwithstanding the differences, both American and British students tend to use fewer phrasal verbs in academic writing than in argumentative writing. The learners do not show a fundamental difference from the British students regarding overall frequencies of phrasal verbs; however, the learner-native writer gap does exist between the Chinese and American students.
Keywords: leaner corpus studies, native novice corpora, phrasal verbs
Published online: 28 October 2013
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