Verbs in the written English of Chinese learners : a corpus-based comparison between non-native speakers and native speakers

Guo, Xiaotian (2006). Verbs in the written English of Chinese learners : a corpus-based comparison between non-native speakers and native speakers. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.


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This thesis consists of ten chapters and its research methodology is a combination of quantitative and qualitative. Chapter One introduces the theme of the thesis, a demonstration of a corpus-based comparative approach in detecting the needs of the learners by looking for the similarities and disparities between the learner English (the COLEC corpus) and the NS English (the LOCNESS corpus). Chapter Two reviews the literature in relevant learner language studies and indicates the tasks of the research. The data and technology are introduced in Chapter Three. Chapter Four shows how two verb lemma lists can be made by using the Wordsmith Tools supported by other corpus and IT tools. How to make sense of the verb lemma lists is the focus of the second part of this chapter. Chapter Five deals with the individual forms of verbs and the findings suggest that there is less homogeneity in the learner English than the NS English. Chapter Six extends the research to verb–noun relationships in the learner English and the NS English and the result shows that the learners prioritise verbs over nouns. Chapter Seven studies the learners’ preferences in using the patterns of KEEP compared with those of the NSs, and finds that the learners have various problems in using this simple verb. In this chapter, too, my reservations about the traditional use of ‘overuse’ and ‘underuse’ are expressed and a finer classification system is suggested. Chapter Eight compares another frequently-occurring verb, TAKE, in the aspect of collocates and yields similar findings that the learners have problems even with such simple vocabulary. In Chapter Nine, the research findings from Chapter Four to Chapter Eight are revisited and discussed in relation to the theme of the thesis. The concluding chapter, Chapter Ten, summarises the previous chapters and envisages how learner language studies will develop in the coming few years.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Schools (1998 to 2008) > School of Humanities
School or Department: School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies, Department of English Literature
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PE English
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics


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