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Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory

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Definite article bridging relations in L2: A learner corpus study

Peter Robert CrosthwaiteORCID iD: http://orcid.org/0000-0002-1482-8381
Published Online: 2016-02-13 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cllt-2015-0058


Bridging relations are used when the identity of a discourse-new entity can be inferred via lexical relations from an antecedent (e. g. a cake … the slice) or non-lexically via reference to world knowledge or discourse structure (e. g. a war … the survivors). Such relations are marked in English via the definite article, which is considered a difficult feature of the English language for L2 learners to acquire, particularly for L1 speakers of article-less languages. This paper provides an Integrated Contrastive Model (e. g. Granger 1996) of the L1 and L2 production of definite article bridging relations using L2 English learner corpus data produced by native Mandarin and Korean speakers at four L2 proficiency levels, alongside comparative native English data. The data is taken from the International Corpus Network of Asian Learners of English (ICNALE, Ishikawa 2011, 2013), totalling just under 400,000 words with over 1500 bridging NPs identified. Results suggest subtle but significant differences between L1-L2 and L2-L2 groupings in terms of the frequency of particular bridging relation types and lemmatised wordings identified in the data, although there was little evidence of pseudo-longitudinal development. Such differences may suggest an effect of L1-L2 linguistic relativity, influencing the selection of relational links between given/new discourse entities during L2 production.

Keywords: definite article; L2 English; learner corpus; Mandarin; Korean; bridging descriptions; L2 development


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Published Online: 2016-02-13

Citation Information: Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory, ISSN (Online) 1613-7035, ISSN (Print) 1613-7027, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cllt-2015-0058.

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Peter Crosthwaite
International Journal of Learner Corpus Research, 2016, Volume 2, Number 1, Page 68

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