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The Emergence of Patterns in Second Language Writing

A Sociocognitive Exploration of Lexical Trails

Series:

Susy Macqueen

This book received the Cambridge/Language Teaching Brumfit Award 2010.
Drawing upon a convergence of sociocultural theory and linguistic emergentism, this book presents a longitudinal investigation of the development of ESL users’ written lexicogrammatical patterning (collocations and colligations). A qualitative methodology (‘Lexical Trail Analysis’) was developed in order to capture a dynamic and historical view of the ways in which the participants combined words in their writing. This involved tracing single lexemes diachronically through individuals’ written corpora. The writers were interviewed about the histories of particular word combinations. Selected patterns were later tested using the principles of dynamic testing. The findings of these combined data types – essays, interviews and tests – suggest that sociocognitive resources such as memory and attention and the ability to imitate and adapt linguistic resources are paramount in the massive task of internalizing the lexicogrammatical patterning of a second language. The participants were agents of change, seeking assistance and adapting patterns to suit their changing goals. Their activity is theorized in a model of language patterning from which implications for second language learning and teaching are drawn.

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Acknowledgements 9

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9Acknowledgements I am very grateful to the participants upon whose considerable exper- tise this study is built. They gave their time willingly and contributed generously. I am also indebted to Jill Wigglesworth for her practical and intellectual support throughout the study, to Neomy Storch for her valuable scaffolding, to Luke Harding for his constancy and camara- derie, to Tim McNamara for his encouragement and inspiration and to Josh Clothier for his superior and timely transcribing. Thank you also to the many others who nurtured the research and writing pro- cess, in particular, Katharina Bonzel, Cathie Elder, Nick Evans, Alice Gaby, Justin Kruger, James Lantolf, Diane Larsen-Freeman, Peggy Macqueen, Vince McCafferty, Yasmine McCafferty, Felicity Meakins, Ursula Rettinghaus, Carsten Roever and Katie Sutton. I am grateful to the late Michael Clyne, whose enthusiasm and conviction en- couraged me to go further. Thank you also to Mark Davies for creat- ing an excellent web-based corpus . I am ever grateful to my parents, Nell and Revan Macqueen, who instilled in me a love of observation, and to Rohan Chandran and our children, whose enduring support and patience saw this project through. * * * The publication of this book was supported by the Faculty of Arts Publication Subsidy Scheme, a Grant-in-Aid from the School of Lan- guages and Linguistics, and the Language Testing Research Centre, University of Melbourne. 10

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