Article published in:Corpus-based Approaches to Spoken L2 Production: Evidence from the Trinity Lancaster Corpus
Edited by Vaclav Brezina, Dana Gablasova and Tony McEnery
[International Journal of Learner Corpus Research 5:2] 2019
► pp. 181–206
Light verb constructions in spoken L2 English
An exploratory cross-sectional study
Light verb constructions (LVCs), that is, combinations like take a walk or make a choice, are often claimed to be problematic for non-native speakers of English. In this paper, spoken data from the Trinity Lancaster Corpus are used to explore the use of these constructions across different sections of the corpus, representing different proficiency levels (from lower intermediate to upper advanced) as well as different types of acquisitional contexts, namely English as a Foreign Language (EFL) and English as a Second Language (ESL). The results of the study reveal a tendency towards an increased frequency of LVCs, as well as more complex and abstract uses, as we move from an intermediate to an advanced level and from an EFL to an ESL context. For the EFL speakers, this development corresponds to a better approximation to native English. For the ESL speakers, on the other hand, LVCs seem to have become ‘constructional teddy bears’, used more often than by the native speakers themselves.
Keywords: light verb construction, speech, EFL, ESL, proficiency level, developmental patterns
Published online: 24 September 2019
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