Volume 20, Issue 4
  • ISSN 1384-6655
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9811


The aim of this paper is to contribute to learner corpus research into formulaic language in native and non-native German. To this effect, a corpus of argumentative essays written by advanced British students of German (WHiG) was compared with a corpus of argumentative essays written by German native speakers (Falko-L1). A corpus-driven analysis reveals a larger number of 3-grams in WHiG than in Falko-L1, which suggests that British advanced learners of German are more likely to use formulaic language in argumentative writing than their native-speaker counterparts. Secondly, by classifying the formulaic sequences according to their functions, this study finds that native speakers of German prefer discourse-structuring devices to stance expressions, whilst British advanced learners display the opposite preferences. Thirdly, the results show that learners of German make greater use of macro-discourse-structuring devices and cautious language, whereas native speakers favour micro-discourse structuring devices and tend to use more direct language.

This article is available under a CC BY 4.0 license


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