online Zoom meeting
Toing and Froing between Theory and Data: A Study of Causative Constructions in EFL and ESL
Theory and data are two essential components of linguistic research, including second language acquisition research. This presentation will illustrate the toing and froing between these two components within the frame of a study of causative constructions in English as a foreign language (EFL) and English as a second language (ESL). Using a constructionist corpus-based approach, the study starts from a usage-based view of language acquisition to formulate the hypothesis of “input-dependent L2 acquisition”, which predicts that ESL learners, who get exposed to naturally-occurring language, should have a better command of causative constructions than EFL learners, who rely almost exclusively on formal instruction. This hypothesis is tested thanks to a comparison of the frequency, syntactic behaviour and phraseological preferences of periphrastic causative constructions with cause, get, have and make in corpora of EFL and ESL student writing. The results of the corpus analysis lead to a refinement of the initial hypothesis and of the usage-based model of L2 acquisition, suggesting that other factors than context should also be taken into account.
In the presentation, I will describe the genesis of the study and explain how and why certain methodological decisions were made. Among other issues, I will discuss corpus choice, data extraction (in relation to precision and recall), and data coding. After presenting the outcome of the corpus study, I will underline the importance of using the results of data analysis to feed back into theory as well as applications.
If you would like to listen to this guest lecture, please contact Dr. Zeynep Köylü to obtain the necessary Zoom link.
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