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Title:Chinese ESL writers' uses of the causative verb structure make: a corpus-based investigation
Author(s):Liu, Yilan
Advisor(s):Sadler, Randall; Nurmukhamedov, Ulugbek
Department / Program:Linguistics
Discipline:Teaching of English Sec Lang
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Causative Verb
Abstract:Previous research (Lee & Chen, 2009) indicates that Chinese-speaking ESL learners use MAKE constructions extremely frequently in their English academic writing, and this phenomenon echoes other findings that MAKE is a commonly used verb that most ESL learners globally tend to overuse. Altenberg and Granger (2001) categorize MAKE constructions into eight basic types of uses. In their corpus-based research, they found that Swedish and French ESL writers tend to use causative MAKE constructions most frequently in their writing compositions, but they use these constructions differently in terms of what complement follows the causative MAKE construction: causative MAKE + (1) Adj., (2) + V., and (3) + N. Neither in this research is any further investigation made. There is no corpus data to back up what extent is the MAKE construction used by L1 Chinese ESL writers, how well it is used, and in what contexts it appears. This thesis aims to use corpus-based method to investigate how L1 Chinese ESL writers use causative MAKE constructions in writing assignments. Results indicate that Chinese students use causative MAKE constructions second most frequently, fewer than delexical MAKE uses. This is inconsistent to previous research where causative MAKE is the most frequent. Results also indicate that among the three complement-structured causative MAKE constructions, Chinese writers use adjective complements more frequently than the other two, which is consistent to previous studies. In terms of quality and contexts of the use of causative MAKE, Chinese writers use fewer varieties of types. Compared to NSs, Chinese writers tend to make grammatical mistakes and some language seems awkward and unnatural. It is inferred that this might result from negative L1 transfer because learners mistaken the L1 correspondent constructions to causative MAKE in English. This may also because there is a strong preference or the lacking of causative MAKE constructions influenced by L1. Implications for pedagogy are stated at the end of this thesis, and suggestions are provided for future investigation.
Issue Date:2016-07-22
Rights Information:Copyright 2016 Yilan Liu
Date Available in IDEALS:2016-11-10
Date Deposited:2016-08

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