Proceedings of the 14 th Norddeutsches Linguistisches Kolloquium 2013 in Halle an der Saale
Edited By Anne Ammermann, Alexander Brock, Jana Pflaeging and Peter Schildhauer
Amplifiers in Native and Non-Native Speaker Language Performance
Amplifiers are used differently by native and non-native speakers of English. My quantitative corpus study has shown that, at a first glance, the frequency of amplifiers is higher in non-native than in native-speaker language performance. Yet, at a second glance, this observation has to be relativised. The analysis reveals a non-uniform picture with some amplifiers being over-used in some sub-corpora while under-used in others.
The methodology applied in my study was the Contrastive Interlanguage Analysis (CIA) as described by Granger (1996: 37). All 11 sub-corpora of the International Corpus of Learner English (ICLE) and the Louvain Corpus of Native English Essays (LOCNESS) were my corpora of choice to analyse the usage of 14 amplifiers by native (NS) and non-native speakers (NNS) of English. The definition of ‘amplifier’ is taken from Quirk et al. (1985: 429f.). Amplifiers were analysed in terms of relative frequency and statistical significance. In a second step, the shortcomings of this approach and method were discussed.
The analysis revealed NNS strategies to avoid unidiomatic constructions, such as “lexical teddy-bears” (Hasselgren 1994: 250) and avoidance. Using, compared to NS, a limited set of amplifiers, NNS can assure proficiency at the expense of language variability.
I have to be alone very often. I'd be quite happy if I spent from Saturday night until Monday morning alone in my apartment. That's how I refuel.
Audrey Hepburn (1953)
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