Edited by Andrea E. Tyler, Lourdes Ortega, Mariko Uno and Hae In Park
[Language Learning & Language Teaching 49] 2018
► pp. 267–289
Chapter 12. A systemic functional linguistic approach to usage-based research and instruction
The case of nominalization in L2 academic writing
The present chapter illustrates how Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) can inform a usage-inspired approach to researching and teaching L2 writing in a postsecondary context. We first outline an SFL perspective to multilingual academic literacy development and then illustrate this perspective by means of longitudinal, corpus data on nominalization use in the English academic writing of francophone university students over four years. By means of quantitative indicators (nominalization frequencies, erroneous forms, measures of L2 proficiency scores and syntactic complexity) and qualitative analyses (of the discourse functions that nominalization serve), we argue that French-speaking writers’ use of nominalization in English indexes both language-specific and language-interdependent aspects of multilingual academic literacy development. We conclude with implications for further SFL-informed research and instruction that aims to promote multilingual academic literacy development by raising crosslinguistic awareness of the forms and functions of nominalization in academic discourse.
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