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Underproduction or Overproduction? A Corpus-based Study of Chinese EFL Learners’ Use of English Relative Clauses

Nyasha Malbermore Chandavengerwa, Tawanda Matende
Published 31 March 2020

Abstract

This paper attempts to examine whether Chinese English learners adopt the underproduction or overproduction behavior when using English relative clauses in academic writing. To achieve the objective of the study, the researchers used a corpus-based method to analyze and compare the production of the restrictive relative clause among Chinese students and native English students. The aims were to find out if the Chinese students underproduce the English relative clause and also examine how frequently they use that, which, and zero relative pronouns as reported in the sub-corpus of the Written English Corpus of Chinese Learner (WECCL) and the British Academic Written English corpus (BAWE). Based on the findings, conclusions are drawn as follows; compared to native English students, Chinese EFL learners generally tend to underproduce the restrictive relative clause in academic writing; and on the other hand, overuse the relative pronoun that. The observations from this study concur with the findings from previous studies

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