A Corpus-Based Analysis of N-Grams in English Texts Written by Chinese Learners

Zhiyuan LIN

Abstract


Recent linguistic studies have shown that proper use of multi-word expressions, or n-grams, is quite essential in foreign language acquisition. By contrast of the different types of n-grams from native corpus and Chinese learners’ corpus, the present article is devoted to discussing distinctive features of n-grams use in English texts written by Chinese learners. Generally, Chinese learners have not developed a strong awareness of distinguishing written style from spoken style of English texts. Also they tend to produce various n-grams which reflect the Chinese social development. Besides, they usually overuse n-grams of “a personal pronoun + a modal or mental verb” to stress human subjective ideas, attitudes or feelings toward the objective world. In addition, they can not output n-grams about quantity in a native-like way. The article also explores the causes of those peculiar features above mentioned from linguistic, social, cultural and cognitive perspectives. The study may not only helps readers get a better understanding about the n-gram features involved in Chinese learners’ English texts, but also brings some practical implications to EFL teaching.


Keywords


Chinese learners; Written English; N-Grams; EFL teaching

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968/7885

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