Edited by Ana Díaz-Negrillo, Nicolas Ballier and Paul Thompson
[Studies in Corpus Linguistics 59] 2013
► pp. 249–264
A corpus-based comparison of syntactic complexity in NNS and NS university students’ writing
This paper reports on a corpus-based comparison of syntactic complexity in NNS and NS university students’ writing. We analysed 600 essays from the Written English Corpus of Chinese Learners and the Louvain Corpus of Native English Essays using 10 syntactic complexity measures to investigate whether and the extent to which NNS and NS university students’ writing differs with respect to length of production unit, amount of subordination, amount of coordination, and degree of phrasal sophistication. Results showed significant differences in all four dimensions of syntactic complexity between the writing of NNS students at both low and high proficiency levels and that of NS students. This gap calls for the design of pedagogical interventions to enhance NNS university students’ syntactic development.
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