The lexical syllabus and English language coursebooks: a corpus-based case study of the highly frequent word 'like'

Peppard, Jason (2021). The lexical syllabus and English language coursebooks: a corpus-based case study of the highly frequent word 'like'. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This thesis reports on a corpus-based study of the highly frequent word 'like'. Taking a lexical syllabus perspective, it aims to answer two main re-search questions: (1) What are the most frequent uses of 'like', as reflected in a large reference corpus (COCA), and (2) how is 'like' treated in English language teaching materials, as reflected in a pedagogic corpus of ELT coursebooks (ELTCC)? In regard to the first research question, prepositional 'like' was found to be notably more frequent in the COCA than verbal 'like', with the BE 'like' and VERB 'like' constructions accounting for the majority of 'like' usage. Further analyses of these constructions focus on simile usage and the various functions associated with perception verbs paired with 'like'. Next, the problem with traditional lexical and grammatical classification at the single-word level is demonstrated by examining the most frequent intensifying premodifiers, as well as, the comparative and superlative premodifiers used with 'like', and how the traditional approaches to language can often be inadequate, or even misleading due to their oversimplicity, especially when taking phraseology into account. Regarding the second research question, the majority of 'like' usage in the ELTCC was found to be verbal rather than prepositional. It is argued that this mismatch between coursebooks and natural language usage of such a highly frequent word can be problematic for language learners, and some recommendations on how to address this discrepancy are dis-cussed.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of English, Drama and Creative Studies, Department of English Language and Linguistics
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PE English


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