A study on the use of phrasal verbs by Malaysian learners of English

Kamarudin, Rafidah (2014). A study on the use of phrasal verbs by Malaysian learners of English. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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The aim of this study is to examine the level of understanding and use of English phrasal verbs (PVs) amongst Malaysian learners of English. It is generally agreed that idiomatic expressions, including phrasal verbs, present great difficulties for language learners. Various reasons have been highlighted, which include the nature of PVs themselves, as well as crosslinguistic factors.
Two different types of methodology - survey and corpus work - are used to find answers to the research questions. In the survey component, the respondents include both teachers and learners in selected secondary schools in Malaysia. A PV test was given to the student respondents, while questionnaires were used to get teachers’ feedback regarding the common practice of vocabulary teaching particularly with respect to PVs, as well as their views on the vocabulary contents presented in school textbooks. The corpus work is based on the English of Malaysian Students (EMAS) and the Bank of English (BoE) corpus, and 24 PVs were selected for analysis. Drawing on findings from the survey and corpus work, an examination of school textbooks and learners’ dictionaries was then carried out. Results indicate that, in addition to learners’ proficiency level and gender, the nature of PVs and crosslinguistic factors, particularly the learners’ L1, play a significant role in Malaysian learners’ understanding and use of PVs. Their difficulties with PVs are further compounded as textbooks and dictionaries were also found to provide insufficient and inappropriate information with respect to PVs. This thesis makes a number of suggestions to further improve the present scenario of PVs teaching and learning. It is suggested that the teaching of PVs should also take into account learners’ L1, and that learners can learn and understand PVs better if they are made aware of the lexical and grammatical patterns of PVs. Instead of relying on intuition, perhaps it is time for Malaysian textbooks and dictionaries to consider integrating the use of corpus into their selection of PVs to be presented to learners.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies, Department of English Literature
Funders: Other
Other Funders: Ministry of Higher Education, Malaysia, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LG Individual institutions (Asia. Africa)
L Education > LT Textbooks
P Language and Literature > PE English
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/4504


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