Investigating the lexico-grammatical resources of a non-native user of English : The case of can and could in email requests

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Investigating the lexico-grammatical resources of a non-native user of English : The case of can and could in email requests

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Publication Article, peer reviewed scientific
Title Investigating the lexico-grammatical resources of a non-native user of English : The case of can and could in email requests
Author Hall, Christopher J. ; Joyce, Jack ; Robson, Chris
Date 2017
English abstract
Individual users of English as a first or second language are assumed to possess or aspire to a monolithic grammar, an internally consistent set of rules which represents the idealized norms or conventions of native speakers. This position reflects a deficit view of L2 learning and usage, and is at odds with usage-based approaches to language development and research findings on idiolectal variation. This study problematizes the assumption of monolithic ontologies of grammar for TESOL by exploring a fragment of genre-specific lexico-grammatical knowledge (the can you/could you V construction alternation in requests) in a single non-native user of English, post-instruction. A corpus sample of the individual's output was compared with the input he was exposed to and broader norms for the genre. The analysis confirms findings in usage-based linguistics which demonstrate that an individual's lexico-grammatical knowledge constitutes an inventory of constructions shaped in large part by distributional patterns in the input. But it also provides evidence for idiosyncratic preferences resulting from exemplar-based inertia in production, suggesting that input is not the sole factor. Results are discussed in the context of a "plurilithic" ontology of grammar and the challenges this represents for pedagogy and teacher development.
DOI https://doi.org/10.1515/applirev-2016-1001 (link to publisher's fulltext.)
Publisher Walter De Gruyter
Host/Issue Applied Linguistics Review;1
Volume 8
ISSN 1868-6311
Pages 35-59
Language eng (iso)
Subject usage-based linguistics
plurilithic Englishes
second language acquisition (SLA)
English as a Lingua Franca (ELF)
idiolect
Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::HUMANITIES and RELIGION
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/25821 Permalink to this page
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