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Marked themes in advanced learner English

Sylvi Rørvik

Abstract

This chapter investigates the use of marked themes in argumentative texts written by advanced Norwegian learners of English. The learner texts, taken from the Norwegian component of the International Corpus of Learner English, are compared with expert and novice L1 material in English and Norwegian, following the procedure of the Integrated Contrastive Model (Granger 1996). The results show that Norwegian learners underuse marked themes as compared to expert native speakers of English. Further, the learners overuse adverbials as marked themes, and underuse complements. This is partly the result of an underuse of quoted speech in thematic position. The Norwegian learners thus have not mastered the discourse conventions of English when it comes to the use of marked themes, but this is not due to transfer from Norwegian. Developmental factors are shown to be a more important factor influencing the learners.

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