Volume 4, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2215-1478
  • E-ISSN: 2215-1486
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On the basis of a longitudinal corpus of English produced by German intermediate learners, the present paper explores how noun phrase (NP) complexity develops in terms of global measures of complexity (length, number of modifiers per 1,000 words) in learner data on an intermediate level of competence and describes how the use of individual NP-modification structures changes as learners progress through their three final years of secondary school. An additional objective is to test Biber et al.’s (2011) hypothesized stages of acquisition against our data of intermediate learner English, complementing the data of advanced learner English provided by Parkinson & Musgrave (2014) . Our results show that global measures of NP complexity remain stable as learners progress from grades 10 to 12. Zooming in on individual learners and features, the results lend tentative support to Biber et al.’s (2011) stages of acquisition. However, individual variation influences the frequency of noun-phrasal modifiers.


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