Volume 5, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2215-1478
  • E-ISSN: 2215-1486
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Based on datasets of L1 Italian and Spanish learner language culled from the Trinity Lancaster Corpus Sample, this paper investigates how verb-argument constructions (VACs) develop in the spoken English of L2 learners across proficiency levels. In addition to proficiency and L1 effects, we focus on the potential influence of native English usage on learner VAC production. Insights into learners’ productive knowledge of five target VACs and the verbs used in those VACs are gained through (1) comparisons of normalized entropy scores for verbs in VACs; (2) correlation analyses comparing for each VAC the verbs produced by groups of learners and by native English speakers; and (3) regression analyses comparing learner verb-VAC associations against indices of VAC usage, including verb-VAC frequency, VAC-verb association strength and contingency. Results indicate that, across L1 backgrounds, more proficient learners are more productive in their VAC use and closer to patterns in L1 English usage than less proficient learners.


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