The distribution of reflexive intensifiers in learner English
Tom Rankin |
Vienna University of Economics and Business
This study investigates the use of reflexive intensifiers by L1 German-speaking learners of L2 English against the background of previous research which has identified non-target-like distribution of such features which are sensitive to discourse constraints and/or register variation. Occurrences of intensified NPs are compared between the Louvain Corpus of Native English Essays and the German component of the International Corpus of Learner English. In line with previous research, it is found that learners overuse this lexico-grammatical means of information highlighting. However, there is only significant overuse of a specific sub-type of intensifier, the inclusive adverbial intensifier. These results are discussed in terms of (i) general learnability considerations which may account for learners’ problems in mastering the use of register-sensitive information-structural patterns, and (ii) pedagogical issues which arise in connection with addressing residual non-target performance in written production beyond the stage at which target properties of lexico-grammar have generally been acquired.
Keywords: reflexive intensifier, advanced learner, English, ICLE, L2 writing
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