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Typological profiling

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Abstract

Drawing on naturalistic corpus data, this study is an exercise in establishing typological profiles of learner varieties (as sampled in the <i>International Corpus of Learner English</i>) vis-&#224;-vis indigenized L2 varieties of English (as represented in the <i>International Corpus of English</i>), though we also include in our dataset, for benchmarking purposes, a number of European languages as well as three stylistic varieties drawn from the <i>British National Corpus</i>. Our research is informed by two typological parameters widely used in the crosslinguistic classification of languages: overt <i>grammatical analyticity</i>, which we operationalize as the text frequency of free grammatical markers, and overt <i>grammatical syntheticity</i>, which we define as the text frequency of bound grammatical markers. The principal insight afforded by this study is that learner Englishes and indigenized L2 varieties of English have strikingly different typological profiles, a finding which we trace back to a number of grammatical markers whose function and frequency differs between the two groups. We also present a methodology to explore if learner Englishes are sensitive to typological properties of their substrate languages, and find that this is not generally the case.

References

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