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Quantitative and qualitative aspects of advanced students’ mastery of L1 (Swedish) and L2 (English) free combinations of noun/verb + preposition as compared to multi-word verbs

Journal: International Journal of Language Studies (Vol.8, No. 3)

Publication Date:

Authors : ;

Page : 27-54

Keywords : Mastery of L1; Mastery of L2; Free Combinations; Multi-Word Verbs;

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In the present investigation, 15 first-term university students were asked to produce 100 idiomatically used prepositions of varying frequency in given contexts in Swedish (L1) and English (L2) respectively, 40 of which were used in free combinations of noun/verb + preposition as in ‘reason for’ and 60 of which were part of multi-word verbs such as ‘take off’ and ‘get down to (business)’. Native speaker results of English were used as a point of reference. One main research question was thus addressed: In quantitative and qualitative terms, what productive L1/L2 knowledge do advanced students have of on the one hand bound prepositions in free combinations and on the other hand of bound prepositions in combinations of verbs and particles categorized as phrasal verbs? The results show that, while the Swedish informants achieved almost the same L1 result as the native speaker of English did in his mother tongue, they displayed a poor L2 knowledge. More importantly, the results show that while particles used in L2 multi-word combinations appear to be stored as units together with the preceding verbs, this was not the case with prepositions used in free combinations where knowledge of the meaning of the preceding noun/verb was very often combined with an uncertainty as to what preposition to choose.

Last modified: 2014-06-21 12:26:21