The influence of the grammatical structure of L1 on learners' L2 development and transfer patterns in ESL academic writing: a comparative study (a case of Chinese and Czech speakers)

Kosterina, Anna
Major Professor
Dan Douglas
Nick Pendar
Geoff Sauer
Committee Member
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This study investigates whether the grammatical structure of learner's first language (L1) plays a role in English as a second language (L2) development and can result in transfer into L2 writing. The study aims to find patterns of language use and error in learners of English as a second language with respect to their native language by studying a corpus of writings produced by such learners. The main focus of the study is on examining the manually annotated part of the section C of the Longman Learners' Corpus (LLC) corpus ( which includes English writing samples from the native speakers of Czech and Chinese varieties for the evidence of transfer pertaining to several specific grammatical features. The selection of features for the statistical analysis was based on previous research and the typological differences between the two languages investigated. Czech and Chinese were selected to represent Indo-European and Sino-Tibetan language groups, which are typologically very different from each other and are appropriate for the research goal.;The results of the statistical analysis show that grammatical structure of learners' L1 does have an effect on learners' L2 writing and can result in developmental and persistent errors which are particular to each language group. More importantly, the results of the study provide empirical support in favor of the argument that one L1 background group is prone to use certain grammatical, lexical, and textual organization patterns more frequently in L2 environments in comparison to the other L1 background, which is an important finding for the field of second language acquisition (SLA) in terms of its potential implications for the Intelligent Computer Assisted Language Learning (ICALL), material design, and teacher training.