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The use of the general nouns people and thing by L2 learners of English: A corpus-based study
Växjö University, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, School of Humanities.
2006 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

With the advent of corpora documenting learner English, a new and interesting field of research has become available. Learner corpora provide a new type of data which can inform thinking both in second language acquisition research and in foreign language teaching research. Analyses of learner corpora normally report on features which are typically ‘overused’ and ‘underused’, when contrasted to comparable native speaker corpora, in addition to those which are ‘misused’ by the learners. Ringbom (1998) conducted a study in which he identified one common aspect of non-native speaker corpora: the high frequency of general nouns, such as people and thing.

The aim of this paper was to test Ringbom’s findings and attempt to identify how English as a second language learners’ usage of these particular nouns in written production differ from that of native speakers by conducting a corpus comparison of comparable learner and native speaker corpora. The results of this study clearly support Ringbom’s findings; additionally, it was found that the learners’ written production does not appear vaguer and ‘non-native like’ merely because they overuse the general nouns people and thing, but it also seems as if the learners use these nouns in a more restricted range of meanings whereas the natives’ usage is more diversified. Moreover, this study has identified some of the issues that teachers of English as a second language should be aware of when helping their students to avoid using the general nouns people and thing in a non-native like manner.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. , p. 45
Series
Reports from Växjö University: Humanities, ISSN 1404-0441
Keywords [en]
Learner corpora, ICLE, general nouns
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:vxu:diva-620OAI: oai:DiVA.org:vxu-620DiVA, id: diva2:206933
Uppsok
humaniora/teologi
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2006-06-19 Created: 2006-06-19 Last updated: 2018-01-13Bibliographically approved

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19352f4ea505bb957439a9ac55ee8394b9b34e2f4c18b4d108fce62199b7d474e9c55b67
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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf