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International Journal of Learner Corpus Research

image of International Journal of Learner Corpus Research
ISSN 2215-1478
E-ISSN 2215-1486

The International Journal of Learner Corpus Research (IJLCR) is a forum for researchers who collect, annotate, and analyse computer learner corpora and/or use them to investigate topics in Second Language Acquisition and linguistic theory in general, inform foreign language teaching, develop learner-corpus-informed tools (e.g. courseware, proficiency tests, dictionaries and grammars) or conduct natural language processing tasks (e.g. annotation, automatic spell- and grammar-checking , L1 identification). IJLCR aims to highlight the multidisciplinary and broad scope of practice that characterizes the field and publishes original research covering methodological, theoretical and applied work in any area of learner corpus research. IJLCR features research papers, shorter research notes and reviews of books, corpora and software tools. The language of the journal is English. The journal will occasionally publish special issues (for details please contact the general editors). All contributions are peer-reviewed.


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  • EFL and/vs. ESL?: A multi-level regression modeling perspective on bridging the paradigm gap
    • Authors: Stefan Th. Gries, and Sandra C. Deshors
    • Source: International Journal of Learner Corpus Research, Volume 1, Issue 1, 2015, pages: 130 –159
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    • The study of learner language and that of indigenized varieties are growing areas of English-language corpus-linguistic research, which are shaped by two current trends: First, the recognition that more rigorous methodological approaches are urgently needed (with few exceptions, existing work is based on over-/under-use frequency counts that fail to unveil complex non-native linguistic patterns); second, the collective effort to bridge an existing “paradigm gap” (Sridhar & Sridhar 1986) between EFL and ESL research.This paper contributes to these developments by offering a multifactorial analysis of seventeen lexical verbs in the dative alternation in speech and writing of German/French learners and Hong Kong/India/Singapore English speakers. We exemplify the advantages of hierarchical mixed-effects modeling, which allows us to control for speaker and verb-specific effects, but also for the hierarchical structure of the corpus data. Second, we address the theoretical question of whether EFL and ESL represent discrete English varieties or a continuum.
  • Contrastive interlanguage analysis: A reappraisal
    • Author: Sylviane Granger
    • Source: International Journal of Learner Corpus Research, Volume 1, Issue 1, 2015, pages: 7 –24
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    • Since its introduction in 1996, Contrastive Interlanguage Analysis (CIA) has become a highly popular method in Learner Corpus Research. Its comparative design has made it possible to uncover a wide range of features distinctive of learner language and assess their degree of generalizability across learner populations. At the same time, however, the method has drawn criticism on several fronts. The purpose of this article is threefold: to provide a brief overview of CIA research, to discuss the main criticisms the method has faced in recent years and to present a revised model, CIA², which makes the central role played by variation in interlanguage studies more explicit and is generally more in line with the current state of foreign language theory and practice.
  • Exploring big educational learner corpora for SLA research: Perspectives on relative clauses
    • Authors: Theodora Alexopoulou, Jeroen Geertzen, Anna Korhonen, and Detmar Meurers
    • Source: International Journal of Learner Corpus Research, Volume 1, Issue 1, 2015, pages: 96 –129
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    • We consider the opportunities presented by big educational learner corpora for Second Language Acquisition (SLA). In particular, we focus on the EF Cambridge Open Language Database (EFCAMDAT), an open access database of student writings submitted to Englishtown, the online school of EF Education First. EFCAMDAT stands out for its size (33 million words, 85 thousand learners) and a range of 128 writing tasks covering all CEFR levels with data from learners from varying nationalities. We discuss methodological issues arising from analyzing big data resources generated in educational contexts and argue that Natural Language Processing (NLP) is essential for the automated processing of such datasets. As a study case, we follow the developmental trajectory of relative clauses, a construction that necessitates deeper syntactic analysis. We consider specific issues that can affect the developmental trajectory, including task effects, formulaic language and national language effects.
  • Inside phrasal verb constructions
    • Author: Sandra C. Deshors
    • Source: International Journal of Learner Corpus Research, Volume 2, Issue 1, 2016, pages: 1 –30
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    • This study investigates 2,909 phrasal verbs [PVs] in (in)transitive constructions across native English and French- and German-English interlanguages (ILs). Recent work by Gilquin (2014) shows that, as verb-particle combinations, PVs associate more or less strongly with particular syntactic constructions. Further, those association patterns vary across native and learner Englishes. Building on Gilquin (2014), the present study digs deeper into PV constructions by assessing degrees of mutual attraction between verbs and particles as well as between PVs and their semantic uses. Degrees of association are measured using a co-varying collexeme analysis approach (Stefanowitsch & Gries 2005). Generally, it emerges that within given syntactic constructions (e.g. verb-particle-object constructions), different verbs and particles (i.e. and in the case of or and for ) combine in different degrees, suggesting that, as cognitive routines, those combinations are not equally entrenched. In addition, French and German English learners seem to operate at different levels of semantic complexity when using PVs in their L2. Ultimately, the study bears important pedagogical implications, namely the need (i) to focus on phrasal verbs’ aspectual uses to help learners develop a more confident use of PVs in completive, inceptive and continuative semantic contexts and (ii) to develop resources that help learners improve their uses of PVs in verb-object-particle constructions.

  • L2 English article use by L1 speakers of article-less languages
    • Author: Peter Crosthwaite
    • Source: International Journal of Learner Corpus Research, Volume 2, Issue 1, 2016, pages: 68 –100
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    • This paper adopts the Integrated Contrastive Model (Granger 1996) to an examination of the use of articles in the L2 English written production of L1 speakers of three article-less languages (Mandarin Chinese, Korean and Thai) across four L2 proficiency levels. Data is sourced from the (ICNALE; Ishikawa 2011, 2013), comprising 575 written essays totalling 125,588 words across two writing prompts. Accuracy of zero, indefinite and definite articles is measured using Pica’s (1983) Target Language Use across Bickerton’s (1981) semantic/pragmatic article contexts (generic, specific definite, specific indefinite and non-specific indefinite). The results show two different orders of article accuracy depending on L1 background, as well as effects of writing prompt on the accuracy of certain article forms, and evidence of pseudo-longitudinal development for particular article usages as L2 proficiency increases, although not in all cases. Massive overproduction of indefinite/definite articles in generic contexts is problematic for all three L2 groups regardless of L1 background and L2 proficiency. However, Mandarin L2 English users appear to enjoy a significant advantage in L2 article accuracy over Korean or Thai L2 English users in almost all contexts of use and L2 proficiency levels, providing further potential evidence that the often reported grammaticalisation of definiteness/specificity markers in L1 Mandarin is aiding Mandarin L2 English users’ acquisition of the English article system.

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