Adverb placement in EFL academic writing
Going beyond syntactic transfer
The present study looks at adverb placement in expert writing and in first-language and second-language novice spoken and written production. The extent to which first-language (L1) transfer is still present in advanced learners’ written production is also investigated. The study uses data from one expert corpus (LOCRA), two native-speaker student corpora (BAWE and LOCNEC) and two learner corpora (VESPA and LINDSEI). The results highlight the importance of taking mode into consideration, as clear distributional differences were found between spoken and written production. In addition, while considerable differences could be noted across L1 background in the spoken data, factors such as presence/absence of auxiliary, verb type (e.g. intransitive, copular/linking) and lexis were found to be most important for predicting adverb placement in the written data. Only very limited evidence of L1 transfer was found in the learners’ writing, suggesting that advanced learners have largely mastered the distributional preferences of adverbs.