+

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

Hall, Christopher J and Joyce, Jack and Robson, Chris (2016) 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.

[img]
Preview
Text
Halletal2016.pdf - Published Version

Download (2MB) | Preview

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.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
DOI: 10.1515/applirev-2016-1001
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
P Language and Literature > PE English
School/Department: School of Languages & Linguistics
URI: http://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/1646

University Staff: Request a correction | RaY Editors: Update this record