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LINGUIST List 19.3787

Wed Dec 10 2008

Diss: Applied Ling/Disc Analysis/Text/Corpus Ling: Craig: 'N + P ...'

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        1.    Elizabeth Craig, N + P Clusters in Freshman Composition: A lexico-grammatical approach to academic vocabulary for second language writers


Message 1: N + P Clusters in Freshman Composition: A lexico-grammatical approach to academic vocabulary for second language writers
Date: 10-Dec-2008
From: Elizabeth Craig <betsycraigyahoo.com>
Subject: N + P Clusters in Freshman Composition: A lexico-grammatical approach to academic vocabulary for second language writers
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Institution: University of Georgia
Program: Linguistics Program
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2008

Author: Elizabeth Claiborne Craig

Dissertation Title: N + P Clusters in Freshman Composition: A lexico-grammatical approach to academic vocabulary for second language writers

Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics
                            Discourse Analysis
                            Language Acquisition
                            Sociolinguistics
                            Text/Corpus Linguistics

Dissertation Director:
Sarah E. Blackwell
Margaret Quesada
William A. Kretzschmar

Dissertation Abstract:

This study addresses the lexical difficulties that English as a
second/foreign language learners demonstrate with regard to preposition
usage in their academic writing. After taking a look at the types of errors
learners make with regard to prepositions, this study examines native
speaker usage of N + P clusters in a 500,000-word corpus of freshman essays
at a four-year, tier-one research university in the southeastern U.S. N + P
clusters designate those nouns that are commonly post-modified by
prepositional phrases functioning adjectivally. An N + P cluster then
consists of a preposition plus its most frequent and robust nominal left
colligates as in access to, amount(s) of, increase(s) in, and effect(s) on.
N + P clusters used with high frequencies by native speakers in the
academic register of expository writing are found with the aid of a
concordancer software program by first targeting the ten most frequent
prepositions in the Corpus and then determining their most frequent nominal
left colligates. The degree of attraction between particular nouns and
prepositions is determined through a proportional analysis, and a semantic
taxonomy of the most robust N + P clusters is then applied as an aid to
functional presentations of academic vocabulary. It is suggested that the
teaching of such N + P clusters in a lexico-grammatical approach would
benefit L2 learners in their efforts to achieve native-like fluency and
accuracy with regard to preposition usage and nominal density in second
language writing. Included are implications for the further investigation
of N + P clusters in academic writing for EAP materials design, especially
for content-area vocabulary.



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