Clause combining across grammars: A contrastive analysis of L1 and L2 construal of discourse organization

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Abstract

The goal of the present study is to examine whether clause-combining rhetorical preferences that differentiate between Hebrew and English are maintained across grammars, specifically, in the context of text production in a non-native language. It examines the usage of various bi-clausal constructions marking different levels of event integration in texts written by advanced speakers of English, all native monolingual Hebrew speakers. The data analyzed consist of personal experience narratives that were collected from high-school and university-level students. These texts are compared to narratives that were collected from native speakers of both languages following the same design of study. Quantitative and qualitative analyses show differences and similarities between the three populations in terms of clause-combining strategies. They reveal that not only the constraints of the L1 but mainly those of the L2 guide non-native speakers in their choice of bi-clausal constructions, as devices expressing event integration. Results further show that event integration is reflected by constructions at different levels of the grammatical system, and that constraints on bi-clausal constructions at the more local, morpho-syntactic level are echoed by constraints at the level of discourse itself as a construction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)232-265
Number of pages34
JournalConstructions and Frames
Volume6
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
9. The texts analyzed for this study were collected in 1997 in the framework of a large-scale cross-linguistic project. The project was funded by a Spencer Foundation major research grant to Ruth Berman as PI (for details of aims and elicitation procedures, see Berman & Verhoeven 2002).

Publisher Copyright:
© John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Keywords

  • Clause combining
  • Event integration
  • Hebrew
  • Narrative
  • Rhetorical options
  • Second language
  • Syntax

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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