Exemplification in learner writing: A cross-linguistic perspective

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The aim of the case study reported in this chapter is to examine the potential influence of the mother tongue on learners’ production of both correct and incorrect multi-word units that are typically used to fulfil an important rhetorical function, namely exemplification, in academic writing. The phraseological patterns of five exemplifying lexical items are analyzed in five sub-corpora of the <i>International Corpus of Learner English. </i>These patterns are extracted from Paquot’s (2007) productively-oriented academic word list and include the two fixed conjuncts <i>for example </i>and <i>for instance, </i>the noun <i>example </i>and the verbs <i>illustrate</i>and <i>exemplify. </i>The analysis aims to distinguish between aspects of phraseological use characteristic of learners from one mother tongue background (and therefore probably L1-dependent) from phraseological patterns shared by most learner populations (and hence more likely to be developmental or teaching- induced). Results suggest that there are two different types of transfer of L1 multi-word units: the first type applies to word-like units and the second to less salient multi-word units. The study also indicates that transfer of form often seems to go together with transfer of frequency and register.


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