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Volume 16 Number 2, Summer 2019, Pages 448-767   


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Syntactic Complexity of Recurrent Multiword Sequences in the Writings of Published Authors and L1 and L2 English Apprentice Writers

    Yu Kyoung Shin, Huiseong Choi, Donghwan Kim, Seo-jeong Ko, Hyemin Yoo, Hyungjoon Yoo, Junsu Yoon & Isaiah WonHo Yoo


While previous studies have documented the internal structures of English lexical bundles (LBs) in a range of academic genres, how such fragmentary phrases are used in context has been given little attention. The current study addresses this gap by investigating to what extent three different writer groups, i.e., L1-English freshman students, L1-Korean freshman students, and published research article authors, integrate LBs into their English academic writing. The study first categorizes the LBs by their three main structures: VP-, NP-, and PP-based. It then focuses on the syntactic roles of the bundles in context, and plots these roles onto the developmental stages of grammatical complexity proposed by Biber, Gray, and Poonpon (2011). The results show a progressive sequence of native and nonnative apprentice writers' use of LBs toward being proficient academic writers, while also demonstrating that some features are unique to each group. The study extends the structural analysis of LBs in the literature by providing new information on the grammatical status of LBs in context and in relation to their uses by different groups of writers.

Keywords: syntactic complexity, syntactic roles, lexical bundles, research articles, argumentative essays, novice academic writers