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Korean EFL Learners’ Production of English Relative Clauses

  • Modern English Education
  • Abbr : MEESO
  • 2017, 18(2), pp.71-85
  • Publisher : The Modern English Education Society
  • Research Area : Humanities > English Language and Literature > English Language Teaching
  • Published : May 31, 2017

Kim, Chae-Eun 1

1조선대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Speakers constantly choose among alternative language structures that express the same meaning. The question of why speakers tend to prefer some structures over others raises issues involving language typology and processing. Relative clause (RC) structures are widely used to investigate these issues. Previous research on English RCs has reported that adults and children who speak English as a first language find it easier to produce subject RCs than object RCs. To expand this discussion, this study investigates L1-Korean English learners’ production of two types of RCs. The study tests the extent to which native speakers and non-native speakers of English choose passive subject RCs over active direct object RCs when describing animate entities. Data were collected from 10 native speakers and 18 EFL leaners using a picture-elicited production task. The results indicate two main findings: (i) L2 English learners’ production shows a strong preference for subject RCs and (ii) L2 English learners tend to employ an avoidance strategy in contexts that elicit direct object RCs, instead producing passive subject RCs. The patterns of response provide strong evidence for a subject-object asymmetry in L2 English learners’ production that is identical to that of L1 English speakers.

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