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A Corpus-Based Approach to Gerundial and Infinitival Complementation in Spanish ESL Writing

Description: This paper examines the use of infinitival and gerundial constructions by intermediate Spanish learners. The use of those two patterns creates problems for second language learners at intermediate and advanced levels. However, there are only few studies on their second language acquisition, and fewer focus on Spanish learners. This study tries to resolve this and to this end, I retrieved all hits of the two constructions from the Spanish component of the International Learner Corpus of English (SP-ICLE). I run a distinctive collexeme analysis (DCA) to identify the verbs that are associated with either pattern. The results are discussed at three different levels: (i) the identification of verbs that Spanish learners associate with each construction; (ii) a systematic comparison with previous studies on native speakers to show possible similarities/discrepancies; and (iii) a comparison of the results with findings on German learners to discuss possible effects of language similarity and transfer.
Date: May 2011
Creator: Martinez-Garcia, Maria Teresa

Directions Toward a “Happy Place”: Metaphor in Conversational Discourse

Description: This paper aims to show how people use and understand metaphorical language in conversational discourse. Specifically, I examine how metaphorical language has the potential to be either effective or ineffective in its usage, and how they are bound to the contextual environment of the conversation. This particular setting is a conversation between a researcher and a participant involved in a therapeutic program. Metaphorical language is shown to be helpful for understanding difficult subjects; however, I found most metaphorical occurrences ineffective in meaning-making. Often these ineffective metaphors are elaborated or repeated throughout the discourse event, creating problems with cohesion and understanding. Metaphor use in conversation is an effective rhetorical tool for creating meaning, but it is also a problematic device when it comes to aligning participants' conversational goal.
Date: December 2011
Creator: Edwards, Jonathan Ryan

Exposing Deep-rooted Anger: A Metaphor Pattern Analysis of Mixed Anger Metaphors

Description: This project seeks to serve two purposes: first, to investigate various semantic and grammatical aspects of mixed conceptual metaphors in reference to anger; and secondly, to explore the potential of a corpus-based, TARGET DOMAIN-oriented method termed metaphor pattern analysis to the study of mixed metaphor. This research shows that mixed metaphors do not pattern in a manner consistent with statements made within conceptual metaphor theory. These metaphors prove highly dynamic in their combinability and resist resonance between SOURCE DOMAINS used. Also shown is the viability of metaphor pattern analysis as a methodology to approach mixed metaphor research.
Date: August 2011
Creator: Barron, Andrew T.

NNS Use of Adverbs in Academic Writing

Description: Recent studies have begun to redefine the idea of accuracy in second language acquisition to include not only grammatical correctness, but also native-like selection. This is an exploratory study aimed at identifying areas of nonnative-like selection of adverbs, such as sentence position, semantic category preferences, frequency of use and breadth of word choice. Using corpus-linguistic methods it compares the writing of nonnative English speakers at an intermediate and advanced level to both American college students’ writing and published academic writing. It also conducts in-depth case studies of three of the most commonly used adverbs. It finds that while advanced students are grammatically accurate, there are still several ways in which their use of adverbs differs from that of native speakers.
Date: August 2011
Creator: Heidler, Linda E.

Processing Instruction and Teaching Proficiency Through Reading and Storytelling: A Study of Input in the Second Language Classroom

Description: This paper reports a study of VanPatten's processing instruction (PI) and Ray's TPRS. High school students in a beginning Spanish course were divided into three groups (PI, TPRS, and control) and instructed in forms using the Spanish verb gustar. Treatment included sentence-level and discourse-level input, and tests included interpretation and production measures in a pretest, an immediate posttest, and a delayed posttest given two and a half months following treatment. The PI group made the greatest gains in production measures and in a grammaticality judgment test, and the TPRS group made the greatest gains in written fluency. The PI group's statistical gains in production measures held through the delayed posttest.
Date: May 2011
Creator: Foster, Sarah Jenne