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Volume 10 Number 2, Summer 2013, Pages 1-148   

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A Corpus-based Study of the Use of Phrasal Verbs in Korean EFL Students' Writing

    Mi-Lim Ryoo

This study sheds light on one of the most creative, thus challenging, grammatical classes of the English language, namely phrasal verbs (PV) in a corpus of Korean EFL students' writing. This aims to contribute a further facet to the general understanding of Korean learners of English. Taking the perspective provided by a usage-based approach to language, a corpus was compiled from 257 Korean students' essays from essay contests. The most frequent verbs and adverbial particles in PV constructions and PVs in the corpus were identified and then compared to the actual use of native speakers of English in the British National Corpus. It was found that the top 4 most frequent verbs (e.g. GO, COME) and adverbial particles (e.g. up, out) in both corpora were almost identical, and more than half of the top 20 verbs overlapped. The most frequent PV combinations in the BNC also often occurred in the student corpus, while less frequent combinations in the former rarely appeared in the latter. These findings can provide evidence indicating that Korean EFL students lack the formulaic competence of PVs. The implications of the findings for English language teaching and learning are also discussed.

Keywords: phrasal verbs, lexical verbs, adverbial particles, Korean EFL students' writing, usage-based approach