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Verb-argument constructions in advanced L2 English learner production: Insights from corpora and verbal fluency tasks

Ute Römer, Stephen C. Skalicky and Nick C. Ellis

Abstract

This paper draws on data from learner and native-speaker corpora as well as psycholinguistic data to gain insights into second language speaker knowledge of English verb-argument constructions (VACs). For each of 34 VACs, L1 German and L1 Spanish advanced English learners’ and English native speakers’ dominant verb–VAC associations are examined based on data retrieved from the International Corpus of Learner English (ICLE), the Louvain International Database of Spoken English Interlanguage (LINDSEI), their respective Native Speaker (NS) reference corpora, and data collected in verbal fluency tasks in which participants complete VAC frames, such as, ‘she _______ with the…’ with verbs that come to mind. We compare findings from the different data sets and consider the strengths and limitations of each in relation to questions in usage-based second language acquisition and Construction Grammar.

Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank the following friends and colleagues for their help with distributing VAC surveys to students in Germany, Spain, and the United States: Carmen Aguilera Carnerero, Rafael Alejo Gonzalez, Ulrike Altendorf, Laura Aull, Ruth Breeze, Scott Crossley, Belén Diez-Bedmar, Fiorella Dotti, Izis Elorza, Encarna Hidalgo, Lars Hinrichs, Matt Jadlocki, Sarah Kegley, Daniela Kolbe-Hanna, Rolf Kreyer, Joseph Lee, María José López-Couso, Isabel Miñés, Juan Carlos Palmer, Caroline Payant, Carmen Perez-Llantada, Pascual Perez Paredes, Ben Pinkasovic, Audrey Roberson, Miguel Ruiz Garrido, Carmen Sancho Guinda, Andrea Sand, Marco Schilk, Rainer Schulze, Ayush Shrestha, Mary Smith, and Stefanie Wulff. The lead author acknowledges the support of the project ‘Measuring speakers’ knowledge of English verb-argument constructions: Psycholinguistic evidence from first and second language settings’ through the Georgia State University C. F. Arrington Research Initiation Grant Program.

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Published Online: 2018-01-12
Published in Print: 2020-10-25

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