Sanne Van Vuuren, Janine Berns
May 13, 2017
This paper examines the use of clause-initial adverbials in English novice writing. Previous research has identified frequent use of such adverbials as characteristic of Dutch EFL writing. Our contrastive corpus analysis of novice writing by Dutch and Francophone learners as well as native speakers allows us to determine whether this use of initial adverbials is (a) a V2 transfer effect, (b) a general interlanguage feature, independent of learners’ L1, or (c) a characteristic of novice writing in general, holding true for both native and non-native writers. We will show that both learner groups are ‘equally different’ from the native-speaker novice writers in their frequent use of initial adverbials, but appear to have distinct underlying reasons for this linguistic behaviour: Francophone writers place adverbials in initial position more often for stylistic purposes, while Dutch writers have a stronger tendency to use initial adverbials for local discourse linking.