Volume 3, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2215-1478
  • E-ISSN: 2215-1486
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes


This study presents a longitudinal Bayesian analysis of pre-subject adverbial (PSA) use in a 571,174-word corpus of Dutch learner English. Overall, learners use more circumstance and linking adverbials, but fewer stance adverbials than both novice and expert native writers. Learners also use more ‘local anchors’, i.e. adverbials that serve a cohesive purpose by linking back to an antecedent in the directly preceding discourse. Interestingly, untimed essays are more native-like than timed essays in their use of each of the adverbial types considered. Although learners generally develop in the direction of native writing, the use of linking adverbials in learners’ literature essays develops in the opposite direction. L1 transfer may account for more frequent use of some categories of adverbials, particularly local anchors, but the widening gap between learners and native speakers (NSs) in the use of linking adverbials suggests that the potential role of textbook and curriculum design warrants further research.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Biber, D. , S. Johansson , G. Leech , S. Conrad , & E. Finegan
    1999The Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English. Harlow: Longman.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Bohnacker U. & Rosén, C.
    2008 “The clause-initial position in L2 German declaratives: Transfer of information structure”, Studies in Second Language Acquisition30(4), 511–538. doi: 10.1017/S0272263108080741
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0272263108080741 [Google Scholar]
  3. Callies, M.
    2009Information Highlighting in Advanced Learner English. The Syntax- Pragmatics Interface in Second Language Acquisition. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Council of Europe
    Council of Europe 2001: online. Common European Framework of Reference for: Learning, Teaching, Assessment. Available at: www.coe.int/t/dg4/linguistic/Source/Framework_EN.pdf (accessedFebruary 2015).
    [Google Scholar]
  5. De Haan, P. & Van der Haagen, M.
    2012 “Modification of adjectives in very advanced Dutch EFL writing: A development study”, The European Journal of Applied Linguistics and TEFL1(1), 129–142.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Dreschler, G.
    2015Passives and the Loss of Verb Second: A Study of Syntactic and Information-Structural Factors. Utrecht: LOT.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. EF English Proficiency Index
    EF English Proficiency Index 2015: online. Available at: media2.ef.com/__/~/media/centralefcom/epi/downloads/full-reports/v5/ef-epi-2015-english.pdf (accessedJanuary 2016).
  8. Eurobarometer 386
    Eurobarometer 386 2012: online. Europeans and their Languages. Available at: ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_386_en.pdf (accessedJanuary 2016).
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Granger, S.
    1996 “From CA to CIA and back: An integrated approach to computerized bilingual and learner corpora”. In K. Aijmer , B. Altenberg , & M. Johansson (Eds.), Languages in Contrast. Text-based Cross-linguistic Studies. Lund: Lund University Press, 37–51.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Jarvis, S.
    2000 “Methodological rigor in the study of transfer: Identifying L1 influence in the interlanguage lexicon”, Language Learning50(2), 245–309. doi: 10.1111/0023‑8333.00118
    https://doi.org/10.1111/0023-8333.00118 [Google Scholar]
  11. Klein, D. & Manning, C.
    2003 “Accurate Unlexicalized Parsing”. InAssociation for Computational Linguistics (Eds.), Proceedings of the41st Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics. Sapporo: Association for Computational Linguistics, 423–430. Available atdl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1075096&picked=prox&cfid=857232735&cftoken=37816744 (accessedOctober 2016.)
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Komen, E.
    2012 “Coreferenced corpora for information structure research”. In J. Tyrkkö , M. Kilpiö , T. Nevalainen , & M. Rissanen (Eds.), Outposts of Historical Corpus Linguistics: From the Helsinki Corpus to a Proliferation of Resources. Helsinki: Research Unit for Variation, Contacts, and Change in English. Available at: www.helsinki.fi/varieng/journal/volumes/10/komen/ (accessedMarch 2013).
    [Google Scholar]
  13. 2013Finding Focus: A Study of the Historical Development of Focus in English. Utrecht: LOT.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Kruschke, J.
    2010Doing Bayesian Data Analysis: A Tutorial Introduction with R.Amsterdam: Academic Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  15. Laskin, L.
    2016: online. Frequentist and Bayesian approaches in statistics. Available at: www.probabilisticworld.com/frequentist-bayesian-approaches-inferential-statistics/#more-1677 (accessedJune 2016).
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Littré, D.
    2014A Cognitive, Longitudinal Study of the Use of the English Present Progressive by Intermediate and Advanced French-Speaking Learners. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Université Catholique de Louvain, Louvain.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. Los, B.
    2012 “The loss of verb-second and the switch from bounded to unbounded systems”. In A. Meurman-Solin , M. López-Couso , & B. Los (Eds.), Information Structure and Syntactic Change in the History of English. New York: Oxford University Press, 21–46. doi: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199860210.003.0002
    https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199860210.003.0002 [Google Scholar]
  18. Los, B. & Dreschler, G.
    2012 “The loss of local anchoring: From adverbial local anchors to permissive subjects”. In T. Nevalainen & E. Closs Traugott (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of the History of English. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 859–872.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Meunier, F.
    2015 “Introduction to the LONGDALE project”. In E. Castello , K. Ackerley , & F. Coccetta (Eds.), Studies in Learner Corpus Linguistics: Research and Applications for Foreign Language Teaching and Assessment. Bern: Peter Lang.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. Scarcella, R.
    1983 “Discourse accent in second language performance”. In S. Gass & L. Selinker (Eds.), Language Transfer in Language Learning. Rowling, MA: Newbury House, 306–326.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Springer, P.
    2012Advanced Learner Writing: A Corpus-based Study of the Discourse Competence of Dutch Writers of English in the Light of the C1/C2 Levels of the CEFR. Oisterwijk: BOXpress.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Van Vuuren, S.
    2013 “Information structural transfer in advanced Dutch EFL writing: a cross-linguistic longitudinal study”. In S. Aalberse & A. Auer (Eds.), Linguistics in the Netherlands 2013. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 173–187.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Van Vuuren, S. & De Vries, R.
    forthcoming. “Common framework, local context, local anchors: How V2 to SVO information-structural transfer can help to distinguish within CEFR C2”. In B. Los & P. De Haan Eds. Verb-Second Languages: Essays in Honour of Ans van Kemenade. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Verheijen, L. , Los, B. & De Haan, P.
    2013 “Information structure: The final hurdle? The development of syntactic structures in (very) advanced Dutch EFL writing”, Dutch Journal of Applied Linguistics2(1), 92–107. doi: 10.1075/dujal.2.1.09ver
    https://doi.org/10.1075/dujal.2.1.09ver [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): advanced learners; discourse linking; EFL; information structure; L1 transfer
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error