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Home Journal Index 2021-4

Use of English Phrasal Verbs of Chinese Students Across Proficiency Levels: A Corpus-Based Analysis

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Yuanyuan Wei
Renmin University of China, China


Abstract
A number of studies have investigated phrasal verbs from various aspects (Liu, 2006; Yu, 2011; Liao & Fukuya, 2004). However, those studies lack generality, because only a couple of phrasal verbs were chosen as examples, or too much content prompt was offered in task response of L2 learners. The current study applies a corpus-based approach to investigate English phrasal verbs in free conversations from a Chinese learner corpus, SWECCL (Wen & Wang, 2008), which demonstrates Chinese students’ actual use of phrasal verbs. This study focuses on analysis of two phenomena: development of phrasal verb uses and avoidance of phrasal verbs across different proficiency levels in Chinese students’ oral English conversations. Results showed that students at higher proficiency level used more phrasal verbs in oral communication, and the progress of phrasal verb use was evident from middle proficiency level to advanced proficiency level. The study also found that phrasal verbs occurred less frequently overall in L2 learners’ oral conversations compared with frequency of their single-word synonyms.


Keywords
English phrasal verbs, Chinese learner corpus, proficiency level, single-word synonyms