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Volume 19 Number 4, Winter 2022, Pages 1141-1336   


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Phrasal Verb Usage and L1 Typology: A Corpus-based Study on Chinese and Japanese EFL learners

    Sam Haugh & Osamu Takeuchi


This study investigated the usage of high-frequency English phrasal verbs (PVs) and the effects of L1 typology for learners of English as a Foreign Language (EFL). Essays by native English speakers and by Chinese and Japanese EFL learners from the International Corpus Network of Asian Learners (ICNALE) were analyzed to determine directional, aspectual, and idiomatic PV usage. As English, Chinese, and Japanese are typologically different languages, comparing their PV usage revealed preferences for how the three groups expressed motion, as seen in directional PVs, and change of state events, which are often seen in idiomatic and aspectual PVs. A Chi-squared test revealed a significant association between L1 typology and PV types, and a pairwise comparison indicated a disproportionate use of PVs among the groups. For example, the two EFL learner groups used fewer directional PVs than the English native speakers. Accordingly, L1 typology appears to be a factor in influencing the types of PVs that are used. Considering the high frequency of the PVs investigated in the current study, there are important pedagogical implications for educators who are recommended to take into consideration their learners' L1 and how it can affect their ability to acquire and use PVs of varying types.

Keywords: Phrasal Verbs, EFL, Learner Corpus, Typology, Transfer