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Volume 19 Number 1, Spring 2022, Pages 1-397   


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A Corpus-based Study on the Use of English Relative Clauses by Korean EFL Learners of Different Proficiency

    Sooyeon Kang & Sun-Young Oh


The current study examined Korean EFL learners' use of English relative clauses (RCs) in essays with a special focus on proficiency-specific characteristics. The overall frequency distribution of RCs, RC structural types, and RC-related errors were examined by comparing two different levels of learner corpora and the native speaker corpus. The findings reveal native speakers' more frequent use of RCs compared with learners and the overall proficiency effect on the number of RC uses. In terms of RC structural types, native speakers and learners were more alike than different, and regardless of proficiency level, learners' use of RC structural types showed supporting evidence for Noun Phrase Accessibility Hierarchy (Keenan & Comrie, 1977). The numbers and types of RC-related errors were different depending on learners' proficiency levels. From these findings, some useful pedagogical implications are drawn and discussed for level-specific English RC instructions.

Keywords: English relative clauses, second language processing, error analysis, proficiency, learner corpora