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Learner corpus profiles

The case of Romanian Learner English


Madalina Chitez

Aiming at exemplifying the methodology of learner corpus profiling, this book describes salient features of Romanian Learner English. As a starting point, the volume offers a comprehensive presentation of the Romanian-English contrastive studies. Another innovative aspect of the book refers to the use of the first Romanian Corpus of Learner English, whose compilation is the object of a methodological discussion. In one of the main chapters, the book introduces the methodology of learner corpus profiling and compares it with existing approaches. The profiling approach is emphasised by corpus-based quantitative and qualitative investigations of Romanian Learner English. Part of the investigation is dedicated to the lexico-grammatical profiles of articles, prepositions and genitives. The frequency-based collocation analyses are integrated with error analyses and extended into error pattern samples. Furthermore, contrasting typical Romanian Learner English constructions with examples from the German and the Italian learner corpora opens the path to new contrastive interlanguage analyses.
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4. Articles in Romanian Learner English


4.Articles in Romanian Learner English


Article use can be classified as a basic learner problem since its functions are acquired at beginner’s stage. It is evident that most EFL learners encounter difficulties in employing either definite or indefinite articles since the students seem “to use articles almost randomly” (Yamada and Matsuura 1982: 50). Even if these difficulties are not perceived as erroneous usage in particular cases, they can be very easily detected as a result of frequency analysis.

For example, a basic contrastive analysis (Figure 5.1) of the article frequencies (definite and indefinite) in the Romanian Corpus of Learner English and the native counterpart, LOCNESS, highlights two major learner language features: the definite article the is slightly underused by Romanian learners of English compared to the native speakers whereas the indefinite articles, both forms a and an, are fairly overused in the same collection of data. Given the fact that the statistical differences between the learner variety and the native corpus are not very high (e.g. frequency rates for a/an: 2.74%/RoCLE versus 2.49%/LOCNESS), a detailed analysis of the lexico-grammatical environment of each of the two article categories should reveal more specific EFL phenomena.

Literature in the field argues that the article errors in EFL environment are often explained either through the misinterpretation of article use grammar rules (Yoon 1993; Butler 2002) or the interference with the mother tongue (Leonini 2006; Guella, Déprez et al. 2008). The approach to the use...

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