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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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journal contribution
posted on 20.04.2017, 12:57 authored by Christopher J. Hall, Jack B. Joyce, Chris Robson
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 lexicorammatical 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.

History

School

  • Social Sciences

Department

  • Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies

Published in

Applied Linguistics Review

Volume

8

Issue

1

Pages

35 - 59 (24)

Citation

HALL, C.J., JOYCE, J. and ROBSON, C., 2017. Investigating the lexico-grammatical resources of a non-native user of English: The case of can and could in email requests. Applied Linguistics Review, 8(1), pp. 35-59.

Publisher

© De Gruyter

Version

NA (Not Applicable or Unknown)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Acceptance date

23/03/2016

Publication date

2017

Notes

This paper was accepted for publication in the journal Applied Linguistics Review and the definitive published version is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/applirev-2016-1001

ISSN

1868-6303

eISSN

1868-6311

Language

en