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‘Almost people’: A Learner Corpus Account of L2 Use and Misuse of Non-numerical Quantification

Peter Crosthwaite / Lavigne L.Y. Choy / Yeonsuk Bae
Published Online: 2016-08-31 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opli-2016-0015


We present an Integrated Contrastive Model of non-numerical quantificational NPs (NNQs, i.e. ‘some people’) produced by L1 English speakers and Mandarin and Korean L2 English learners. Learner corpus data was sourced from the ICNALE (Ishikawa, 2011, 2013) across four L2 proficiency levels. An average 10% of L2 NNQs were specific to L2 varieties, including noun number mismatches (*‘many child’), omitting obligatory quantifiers after adverbs (*‘almost people’), adding unnecessary particles (*‘all of people’) and non-L1 English-like quantifier/noun agreement (*‘many water’). Significantly fewer ‘openclass’ NNQs (e.g a number of people) are produced by L2 learners, preferring ‘closed-class’ single lexical quantifiers (following L1-like use). While such production is predictable via L1 transfer, Korean L2 English learners produced significantly more L2-like NNQs at each proficiency level, which was not entirely predictable under a transfer account. We thus consider whether positive transfer of other linguistic forms (i.e. definiteness marking) aids the learnability of other L2 forms (i.e. expression of quantification).

Keywords: Contrastive interlanguage analysis; learner corpora; second language acquisition; nonnumerical quantification; Mandarin; Korean


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About the article

Received: 2016-01-20

Accepted: 2016-08-01

Published Online: 2016-08-31

Citation Information: Open Linguistics, Volume 2, Issue 1, ISSN (Online) 2300-9969, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opli-2016-0015.

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© 2016 Peter Crosthwaite et al.. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

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