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Clausal Complements in Native and Learner Spoken English

A Corpus-based Study with Lindsei and Vicolse


Beatriz Tizon-Couto

This study deals with the frequency and use of clausal complementation in the oral production of two different Spanish learner groups (i.e. Galician/Spanish learners and Spanish learners) as compared with a further learner group (i.e. German learners) and with native speakers (British students). By using corpus and learner linguistic approaches, this research aims to find out and explain the similarities and differences regarding the use of clausal complementation structures in the oral English of several groups of non-native and native speakers. In addition, this study also depicts the process of collection of the oral corpus VICOLSE, which contains transcripts of spoken English data produced by bilingual Galician/Spanish learners. The identification of variation in the use of clausal complementation across the data sheds light on the particular characteristics of spoken learner language syntax/structuring.
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2. The form and function of complement clauses in English


The present chapter evolves from the most general aspects of complementation to some of the most specific characteristics of the construction(s) investigated in this volume. First, sections 2.1.1 to 2.1.4 summarize the general views on complementation proposed by different approaches and schools of thought, namely generative grammar, functional and cognitive grammars and typological approaches. Section 2.2 focuses on functional-typological research, especially Noonan’s (2007) work, and discusses the most relevant general aspects of clausal complementation. This section contains a categorial taxonomy of complements, which makes specific reference to clausal complementation. It also focuses on complementizers and the distribution of the different types of complement clauses, as well as on the morphological and syntactic characteristics of complementation structures (e.g. the valency of the complement-taking verb, the use of a complementizer, equi-deletion and the reduction of elements). A semantic account of complementation (issues such as modality, degree of reduction, choice of complementizer, subordination and grammatical status) is also offered in the last part of section 2.2. The remainder of this chapter, namely sections 2.3, 2.4 and 2.5, consists of an inclusive characterization of verb-, adjective- and noun-governed complementation in English, especially the four basic types: that-, wh-, to- and -ing clauses, based on Biber et al.’s (1999) study of the use and frequency of clauses as complements in the Longman Spoken and Written English Corpus. Most of the examples presented in this chapter have been taken or adapted from Noonan (2007) and Biber et al. (1999). ← 57 | 58 →

Complementation as...

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