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Volume 4 Number 3, Autumn 2007, Pages 1-240   


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Acquisition of the Distinction between Particles and Prepositions by Korean Learners of English

    Soo-Ok Kweon


This study investigated the separable and inseparable phrasal verbs in English by Korean learners of English. The target structures are: for separable phrasal verbs, bring in the chair and bring the chair in and for inseparable phrasal verbs, sit in the chair and the ungrammatical structure *sit the chair in. Native speakers were more precise in judging the separability of phrasal verbs than were Korean learners. In the three kinds of acceptability test, learners were more frequently correct when using inseparable phrasal verbs than when using separable phrasal verbs; this asymmetrical performance suggests that the learners can distinguish separable phrasal verbs from inseparable phrasal verbs. When using separable phrasal verbs, the learners show preference for the more frequent word sequence than the less frequent one and are sensitive to the corpus frequency. Pedagogical implications are discussed based on input sensitivity.

Keywords: phrasal verbs, preposition vs. particle, L2 acquisition