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Home Journal Index 2021-3

The Structures and Functions of Lexical Bundles in Argumentative Essays by Chinese EFL Students at the Tertiary Level

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Wenfeng Yang
Yantian Yunhai School, China

Qi Fang
Shenzhen University, China

The present study investigated and analysed the structures and functions of 3-word to 6-word lexical bundles of 120 English argumentative writing by Chinese EFL students and employed the framework based on Biber et al.’s structural classification and Hyland’s functional classification of lexical bundles. It was found that there was generally a negative correlation, both structurally and functionally, between the frequency and the length of lexical bundles although there were some fluctuations in certain specific categories. Results indicated that the participants did not have a good command of lexical bundles, affecting the quality of English argumentative writing in various ways. First, the sampled students used limited types of lexical bundles frequently. They generally lacked lexical richness when employing specific lexical bundles to express their opinions and text-oriented lexical bundles to convey transitional signals. Second, they relied heavily on the anticipatory it structure and did not have the consciousness of using hedges and boosters when expressing their attitude. Third, they virtually did not use lexical bundles involving attributive clauses. Fourth, they are inclined to use colloquial language in writing. The paper includes implications for instruction of effective use of
lexical bundles in argumentative writing.

Lexical bundles, argumentative writing, Chinese EFL Students, corpus