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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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3. VICOLSE: creation and description of an EFL spoken learner corpus


This chapter focuses on the process of creation of VICOLSE, the spoken learner corpus created as part of this research and used for this study. First, since this volume deals primarily with language in its oral form, a brief discussion as regards the differences between written and spoken production is provided, focusing on the specific characteristics of the oral code (sections 3.1.1 and 3.1.2). Second, an attempt at the characterization of learner spoken language in particular is carried out by discussing some of the features usually ascribed to learner English, particularly the ones that differentiate written and spoken language, as found by some researchers to date (section 3.1.3). Third, the process of creation of a spoken learner corpus is depicted: the construction of VICOLSE is explained in detail, including information regarding the gathering of data, the learners, and the tasks (sections 3.2 and 3.3). Finally, sections 3.4 and 3.5 give details about VICOLSE and about the control corpora used in this study, namely the non-native data from LINDSEI Spanish and German, and the native corpus LOCNEC. A comprehensive assessment of the corpora and their characteristics allows determining to what degree the corpora are more or less comparable. Taking comparability issues into account, we acknowledge that the results must be interpreted always keeping in mind some of the basic differences observed between the data.

This section is devoted to the description of spoken language and to its differences with respect to written language. If we look up the defini...

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