Diachronic, Diatopic and Contrastive Studies
This volume approaches the analysis of variation in English from diachronic, diatopic, and contrastive/comparative perspectives. The individual case studies, all closely interrelated, are organized into three parts or sections. Part I ( Diachronic Studies) applies a variationist methodology to the analysis of developments in the use of the courtesy marker please, adverbs in -ly, the s- genitive and a number of phrasal combinations with the verb get. It also examines Early Modern English regional dialect vocabulary. Part II ( Diatopic Studies) is concerned with the analysis of several morphological and phonological features in different varieties of English, namely Standard English, Modern Scottish English, Galwegian English, and Black South-African English. Part III ( Contrastive Studies) contains four chapters dealing with the contrastive analysis of a number of morphosyntactic features, such as the use of modifiers of adjectives by advanced learners of English, the acquisition and use of aspect by advanced EFL learners with different mother-tongue backgrounds, a comparison of the tempo-aspectual categories of English and Italian, and some of the problems encountered by researchers when compiling and analysing learner corpora of spoken language.
Part III: Contrastive Studies
VIKTORIA BÖRJESSON Reinforcing and Attenuating Modifiers of Adjectives in Swedish Advanced Learners’ English: A Comparison with Native Speakers 1. Introduction The study of non-native speaker (NNS) corpora and their differences and similarities in relation to native speaker (NS) corpora can provide useful knowledge about language learning. Contrastive interlanguage analysis (CIA), which involves a comparison of native and non-native varieties of one and the same language (cf. Granger 1996: 43), studies the phenomena of over- and underrepresentation, and may cast light on learner strategies, differences in rhetorical traditions or teachers’ instructions, asymmetrical power relations, and transfer from the mother tongue. By investigating advanced learners’ texts in particular, we may discover features of near-nativeness which would enable improvements in the methods and materials used in language teaching at advanced levels. This chapter concerns the use of adjective modification in NS and NNS corpora, and aims to give an introductory view of over- and underrepresentation of adjective modification in NNS usage. Although not as frequent as nouns and verbs, and unevenly distributed across registers, adjectives and adverbs are extremely common (cf. Biber et al. 1999: 504). Adjectives are chosen to describe qualities, and some- times the adjective itself is qualified by a strengthening or softening modifier. This modification is not just a matter of indicating the degree of the quality on an imaginary scale, but also mirrors the speaker’s or writer’s intentions, such as to emphasise, persuade and/or impress, or to reduce the impact of what is said. When we study adjective...
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