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A corpus-linguistic investigation into grammatical and lexical cohesion in L1 and L2 English exam writing at upper-intermediate and advanced CEFR levels

Kampakli, N. (2019) A corpus-linguistic investigation into grammatical and lexical cohesion in L1 and L2 English exam writing at upper-intermediate and advanced CEFR levels. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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Abstract/Summary

This thesis explores how the use of grammatical and lexical cohesion develops in L2 English writing across three adjacent upper-intermediate and advanced language proficiency levels. It further examines the similarities and differences in terms of the use of cohesion between each of the three levels of L2 writing and L1 English writing. The present study followed the comparative methodological approach of Contrastive Interlanguage Analysis (CIA) proposed by Granger (1996, 2015) by employing two contrastive frameworks. The first one compared the general EFL writing of CEFR B2 to C1 and of CEFR C1 to C2, while the second one compared the EFL writing of CEFR B2, C1 and C2 to L1 English writing. The study investigated three corpora containing successful written exam data produced by Greek EFL writers. The data derived from B2-, C1- and C2-level Cambridge English examinations. A comparable corpus of exam-condition L1 English writing was compiled containing written answers of British undergraduate students to a balanced mixture of equivalent Cambridge English exam tasks. The study adopted a corpus-linguistic approach as the most appropriate way of analysis of cohesion in the four L1 and L2 English corpora. By combining previous theories and frameworks of cohesion types (e.g. Halliday & Hasan, 1976; Schmid, 2000; Quirk et al., 1985), it built a comprehensive framework that examined the use of reference, conjunction, repetition of words and lemmas, cohesive nouns, as well as synonyms and antonyms. This framework of grammatical and lexical cohesive features, which was developed on the basis of previous approaches, constitutes one of the major contributions of this study. The investigation revealed that the use of ‘grammatical cohesion for writing’ significantly decreased from CEFR B2 to C1 to C2, while the use of lexical cohesion significantly increased across the three levels of proficiency. In comparison to L1 writing, B2 writing showed many significant differences, while C1 and C2 writing showed similarities, especially in terms of lexical development, suggesting that C writing approximates more closely to L1 writing. The study has provided valuable suggestions for the teaching of grammatical and lexical cohesion in combination in the L2 writing classroom, for writing textbook developers, as well as for examiners of the exam writing of the Greek EFL population.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Furneaux, C.
Thesis/Report Department:School of Literature and Languages
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > English Language and Applied Linguistics
ID Code:88720

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