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Reinforcing and Attenuating Modifiers of Adjectives in Swedish Advanced Learners' English

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare Viktoria Börjesson
Publicerad i Linguistics insights
Volym 103
Sidor 227-253
ISSN 1424-8689
Publiceringsår 2009
Publicerad vid Institutionen för språk och litteraturer
Sidor 227-253
Språk en
Ämnesord Advanced learner English, interlanguage, contrastive analysis, adjective modification
Ämneskategorier Lingvistik, Engelska språket

Sammanfattning

Investigating adjective modification in native speaker (NS) and non-native speaker (NNS) corpora contributes to the general study of advanced learner English in which there has been focus on e.g. self-representation in text, thematic choices, the choice of tense and aspect, epistemic comments and the use of discourse particles. In this study, a comparison of frequency, variation and distribution of reinforcers vs. attenuators of adjectives in Swedish learners’ and native speakers’ written and spoken texts shows that spoken NNS and NS corpora are relatively similar, whereas written corpora show clear differences between NSs and NNSs. Similar to Granger’s (1998) and Lorenz’ (1999) studies of French and German learners of English, Swedish learners’ written texts show higher frequency of adjective modifiers than native speakers, especially of informal modifiers, reinforcers that can be combined with a wide range of adjectives and hedging modifiers. In speech, Swedish learners use not that, kind of, not so, extremely and a little bit, more frequently than native speakers, whereas native speakers favour not too, quite, really and a bit. Some reasons suggested for the observed differences are less focus on formal language in Swedish schools, L1 transfer and influence from American English. The overall conclusion is that learners distinguish between written and spoken registers, but that the distinction needs to be stronger in order to reflect native-speaker idiomaticity.

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