A Corpus-based Study on Lexical Bundles in English Argumentative Writings of Chinese English Majors

Title A Corpus-based Study on Lexical Bundles in English Argumentative Writings of Chinese English Majors
Abstract

Lexical bundles refer to those fixed or semi-fixed expressions that have been stored and retrieved as a whole. This study makes a comparative analysis on the use of lexical bundles in the two written corpora in terms of the frequency of occurrence and distribution of different structural and functional types.The research has raised three questions: 1) What are the features of the distribution of lexical bundles in Chinese learner and native speaker corpus? 2) What is the difference of lexical bundles in terms of the structural and functional categories in two corpora? 3) What accounts for the difference in use of lexical bundles between the corpora?The two corpora examined include a native speaker corpus, including 110 articles from LOCNESS (Louvain Corpus of Native Speaker Essays), and a learner corpus, which is composed of 250 argumentative essays written by English majors in Nanjing University. IT is hoped that the results of this study could lead to a better understanding of different lexical bundle use between Chinese learners and native speakers, as well as the significant role of lexical bundles in L2 learning. The data analysis yielded the following findings:Firstly, the distribution of lexical bundles in native speaker and non-native speaker (hereafter called NS and NNS) corpus has their own features. Chinese learners have overused lexical bundles in terms of both structural and functional types. They have overused 4-, 5-, 6-word bundles without reaching a significant difference. of the occurred most frequently in both NS and NNS corpus. Some expressions used by Chinese learners in written work have a spoken tendency.Secondly, the differences in the structural and functional categories seem to be obvious. The major structural types of overused lexical bundles by Chinese learners are”personal pronoun + verb”,”adverbial clause stem”,”clause-initial linking word + clause stem”and”verb phrases”, among which the first three types belong to clause stems. The major structural types of underused lexical bundles are”noun/ pronoun + be”and”none phrases”. The most overused lexical bundles of functional type in the NNS corpus are those maintaining”interaction/indicating identity”, while the most underused lexical bundles of functional type are those indicating”ability”,”time/place/text reference”.Thirdly, the features of Chinese learners’use of lexical bundles are related to a series of factors, among which unsuitable learning methods, negative L1 transfer, lack of register awareness, cultural influence and educational environment are the major ones. In addition, the way of writing test-design, to a great extent, leads to students’dependence on given Chinese outlines. The change of writing test format and more life-related topics seems indispensable if more free expression of personal ideas and abundant content of writings are to be seen in students’writing.In light of the findings, this paper suggests that great efforts need to be made to raise students’awareness of lexical bundles and to enhance their idiomatic and fluent production in L2 learning.

Category Language
Subject corpus, function, lexical bundles, structure,
FileType PDF
Pages 170
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